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Anti-immigrant agitator Ilja Janitskin quits campaign for Finland's presidency

Founder of the anti-immigrant MV-lehti website, Ilja Janitskin, has said that he ran out of time and did not secure enough nominations to run for president.

Ilja Janitskin presidentiksi panderolli.
A campaign poster for Ilja Janitskin with the slogan "Truth obligates." Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

Ilja Janitskin, the founder of the anti-immigrant propaganda website MV-lehti, announced on Saturday that he will terminate his campaign to become Finland's next president after failing to secure the 20,000 signatures necessary for a presidential bid.

Janitskin said on his VKontakte social media account that he would stop seeking the signatures needed to run for presidency. The Barcelona-based media magnate is suspected by Finnish authorities of 50 crimes including ethnic agitation and defamation and is being held under house arrest in Andorra ahead of extradition proceedings.

Janitskin says he has collected close to 15,000 signatures but will not manage to obtain the remaining names for the ledger before the start of December, as his "house arrest [in Andorra] has got in the way of campaigning."

In September, a Finnish court issued an EU-wide arrest warrant for Janitskin for dozens of charges, including aggravated slander and copyright infringement.

An Andorran court announced earlier in November that it would decide on 19 December whether to extradite Janitskin to Finland.

Janitskin announced he would however stand for election in the parliamentary elections in 2019, and that he would throw his support behind Laura Huhtasaari, the hardline Finns Party candidate for president.

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