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Foreign policy expert Mika Aaltola tops newspaper's presidential poll

Ilta-Sanomat noted that it was the first time a non-political figure led the survey.

Ulkopoliittisen instituutin johtaja Mika Aaltola kuvattiin Pasilassa 21. syyskuuta 2022.
Mika Aaltola, file photo from September 2022. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle
Yle News

Foreign policy expert Mika Aaltola rose to the top of newspaper Ilta-Sanomat's latest presidential survey, which was the first time a non-political figure has done so.

The 53-year-old Aaltola's public profile has likely increased since Russia attacked Ukraine. As the Director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, he is often sought out for his expertise in interviews surrounding other international topics, including Turkey's hesitance to ratify Finland and Sweden's Nato membership.

In a March Yle poll, Aaltola was also a surprise addition to the list of the 10 most popular candidates, with him coming in at the eighth spot.

The recent survey found that 44 percent of respondents supported Aaltola, with foreign affairs minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) just behind him with 43 percent. Right behind them was veteran politician and the Bank of Finland's current governor, Olli Rehn (Cen), who found himself in third place with 42 percent support.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) was in fourth place in the survey with 29 percent support, while former PM Alexander Stubb (NCP) received 28 percent support.

Survey participants were given a list of 30 names of people they could see themselves voting for in the 2024 presidential election. Respondents were able to select several individuals from the list.

The Ilta-Sanomat-sponsored survey, carried out by polling firm Taloustutkimus, queried 1,115 people during 18-20 October. The margin of error was 2.5 percentage points in either direction.

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