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Business lobby provided most municipal election funding to NCP

Opposition National Coalition Party (NCP) candidates collected significant campaign donations from the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) and other business groups and individuals.

Jussi Halla-aho (left) of the Finns Party spent no money on the municipal election. Based on preliminary data, the Greens' Anni Sinnemäki spent the most money of the Helsinki mayoral candidates. The campaign of NCP candidate Juhana Vartiainen was funded by private individuals and companies. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

According to preliminary campaign financing reports on the municipal elections held in June, business groups and executives tended to favour candidates from the opposition National Coalition Party (NCP). All final election funding reports must be submitted by the end of next week.

Candidates elected as councillors or deputy councillors in municipal elections are required to reveal their campaign funding. There is still more than a week to file the reports. The deadline is Monday, 16 August.

Many councillors have already made their announcements, while some also provided voluntary advance notice of campaign funding before the election.

The information in this story has been collected from funding announcements as of Friday afternoon, 6 August.

Three party chairs, Sanna Marin (SDP), Petteri Orpo (NCP) and Anna-Maja Henriksson (SPP) had not yet submitted their announcement of their campaign funding as of Friday.

Helsinki mayoral candidates top spending list

Helsinki mayoral candidates were at the forefront of spending money on election campaigns. However, the differences were large.

Juhana Vartiainen of the NCP, who was elected mayor of Helsinki, spent 57,511 euros on his campaign, none of it his own money. Much of his funding came as donations from business executives.

Vartiainen received almost 45,000 euros from private individuals for the election. Among them were six well-known business figures, whose donations exceeded the 800-euro notification limit.

For example, Sampo Group CEO Björn Wahlroos donated euros 3,000 to Vartiainen's campaign. Ilpo Kokkila, one of the principal owners of the construction company SRV, gave Vartia 1,500 euros.

Anni Sinnemäki of the Greens, who came in second, earning the post of deputy mayor, estimated her campaign expenses at 64,300 euros in a preliminary announcement.

Based on her advance announcement, Sinnemäki apparently spent the most money on her Helsinki mayoral election campaign, 64,300 euros.

In her advance announcement, Sinnemäki estimated that she would spend 18,000 euros of her own money on the campaign. Support from the Helsinki Greens was to cover more than half of the campaign costs. Sinnemäki has not yet submitted a report on actual campaign expenditures.

Outgoing Finns Party chair Jussi Halla-aho, who vied unsuccessfully for the mayoral post, said his spending on the municipal elections was below the minimum that must be reported, 800 euros. Halla-aho clarified to Yle that the amount was zero euros.

While he did not win the mayoral race, Halla-aho won the largest number of votes of any candidate nationwide, nearly 19,000. Just after the election, he made the surprise announcement that he would step down as party leader in mid-August.

Ohisalo received election funding from spouse

Among other party chairs, Maria Ohisalo of the Greens estimated that her election campaign would cost 13,000 euros, 9,000 euros of that from her own money. Ohisalo also reported 1,000 euros in financial support from her husband, a renewable energy executive.

Before election day, Left Alliance chair Li Andersson announced that she intended to spend nearly 5,000 euros on her campaign, almost all her own money.

In her preliminary announcement, Centre chair Annika Saarikko estimated that she would spend 1,620 euros on the election, none of it her own money.

Tavio received donations from EK and the Construction Industry

Emma Kari, chair of the Green parliamentary group, estimated that she would spend 24,000 euros on the elections in her preliminary announcement, 19,000 euros out of her own funds.

In his preliminary announcement, Swedish People's Party parliamentary whip Anders Adlercreutz, estimated that he would spend euros 4,193 on the election, most of that from Stiftelsen för det tvåspråkiga Finland (the Finnish Bilingual Foundation).

Ville Tavio, leader of the opposition Finns Party parliamentary group, spent 1,882 euros on the election, mostly covered by subsidies from the business community. Business lobby the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) supported Tavio with 1,000 euros while the Confederation of Finnish Construction Industries (RT) gave him 500.

SDP group leader Antti Lindtman and the NCP's Kai Mykkänen have not yet submitted their election financing announcements.

However, the EK said that it supported Lindtman to the tune of 790 euros and Mykkänen 500 euros.

EK supported the NCP the most

In the municipal elections, the EK distributed support to five parties or their candidates. The NCP and its candidates received the most support (5,320 euros), followed by the Centre (3,785), the SDP (2,480), the Greens (2,395) and the Finns Party (1,000).

In the municipal elections, the blue-collar union federation SAK provided support only to a handful of candidates who were its own staff members, granting them 300 euros each.

The money spent by the candidates is only part of the campaign money for the municipal elections. In addition, national parties and local municipal organisations, for example, spend money on election campaigns.

Campaign funding declarations of municipal candidates can be found on the website of the State Audit Office, which monitors campaign funding.