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Presidential election campaign period officially begins; Aaltola to announce decision next week

Candidates must officially file announcements by mid-December ahead of advance voting, which begins on 17 January.

Snow-covered election posters on Turku's central square during the last presidential campaign in 2018.
Snow-covered election posters on Turku's central square during the last presidential campaign in 2018. Image: Linus Hoffman / Yle
Yle News

Friday marks six months until Finland's next presidential election on 28 January 2024. This marks the beginning of the official campaign period according to Finland's Act on a Candidate’s Election Funding and Act on Political Parties.

While several well-known candidates have thrown their hats into the ring, two major parties have yet to name their candidates.

According to public opinion polls, the front-runners so far are former foreign minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) and Bank of Finland governor and ex-European commissioner Olli Rehn (Cen). Haavisto is not running as a representative of the Green Party, but has been endorsed by his long-time party.

Other announced candidates include Speaker of Parliament Jussi Halla-aho (Finns) and business mogul Harry "Hjallis" Harkimo, chair of the small Movement Now party.

Aaltola to announce decision next week

Another figure whose name that has consistently appeared near the top of opinion polls could enter the race next week.

The Finnish news agency STT reported on Friday that Mika Aaltola is to announce next week whether he will seek the presidency.

Aaltola, 54, is director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, an author and frequent media commentator, but has no political experience or official party affiliation. He has previously said that he was leaning in the direction of running for president.

Meanwhile the domain register maintained by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom) shows that the domain name "mikaaltola2024" was registered in the service on 19 July. Traficom does not reveal who has applied for domain names.

Yle reached out to Aaltola, but he declined to comment on the matter before next week.

Advance voting in the elections begins in less than six months, but the final roster of candidates remains far from clear.

For example, Prime Minister Petteri Orpo's National Coalition Party and the largest opposition party, ex-PM Sanna Marin's SDP, have yet to announce their candidates. Neither party chair is expected to seek the presidential post.

President Sauli Niinistö, a former leader of the NCP, has been in office since 2012. Under the Finnish constitution, presidents are limited to two six-year terms.

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A political historian told Uutissuomalainen that men in Finland tend to be more right-leaning politically.