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Ex-President Ahtisaari unsurprised by Trump win

Former President of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari, says that he was not all that surprised by Donald Trump's victory in the US Presidential election as he felt the country wanted "dramatic change".

Martti Ahtisaari Tampereen teknillisellä lukiolla
President Martti Ahtisaari Image: Antti Eintola / Yle

President Martti Ahtisaari says he's calm about the prospect of a Donald Trump administration. Speaking on a school visit in honour of the annual Ahtisaari Day, which is dedicated to conflict resolution, Ahtisaari said that it's imperative not to over-react.

"For me it's important that we are not too horrified, that we try to understand what happened in the United States," said Ahtisaari, who served as president from 1994 to 2000 and has since worked to resolve conflicts worldwide.

"We should take it calmly," suggested Ahtisaari. "For years I've worked with both Republican and Democrat administrations, because without US support you can't really do any real peace negotiation."

Wait before judging

Ahtisaari has not met Trump, but said he had visited the US during the campaign. Based on that experience, Trump's victory did not come as a surprise.

"When meeting experts there it became clear that there was a real desire for a total change," noted Ahtisaari. "There was a desire to switch from a Democrat administration to a Republican one. The same with Congress and the Senate."

The former SDP leader says that it would pay to wait before judging Trump. The first 100 days a crucial, according to Ahtisaari.

"Then we know the government lineup and who will be the Secretary of State," said Ahtisaari. "At the same time the top officials will also change. We should also observe quite closely what kind of people arrived in the Senate and Congress, and what kind of attitudes they have."

The former president said that it would be rash to draw conclusions from reports that Trump's win was celebrated in Russia.

"They have the right to celebrate who they like," said Ahtisaari.

Sources: Yle

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