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Movement Now announces parliamentary election bid

The political group's chair, Harry Harkimo, on Monday said Movement Now would announce its list of candidates next month.

Harry Hjallis Harkimo
Harry "Hjallis" Harkimo. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

Harry Harkimo, chair of the political group Movement Now (Liike Nyt), announced on Monday that candidates from the independent association will run in the parliamentary election in April 2019, after all.

"We have toured Finland to gauge our support, we've done research and conducted surveys," Harkimo said.

The ex-National Coalition Party MP and businessman said the movement's 12,000 registered supporters all back the group's run for parliament.

"We have around 50 potential candidates at the moment, but we want to get at least 150 people on the list," Harkimo said.

However, co-founder of the movement Mikael Jungner - a communications agency boss and former director of broadcaster Yle - said that he does not plan to run in the election.

Still not a party

Movement Now is not a political party, but an independent registered association that characterises itself as a movement for democracy. Each candidate is required to garner the support of 100 people before being able to establish a voters' association.

Harkimo, who will stand as candidate in Uusimaa, said the group's intention is to create an electoral network of voters' associations in the southern Finnish municipality to improve the chances of candidates being voted through.

Harkimo says Movement Now has strong support in Uusimaa and Helsinki, and will be focusing more on outlying regions in the coming months.

"We are currently interviewing candidates. We will release a long list of them in mid-December," he said.

"No election debates"

Harkimo and Jungner both said Movement Now candidates would not participate in any televised pre-election debates.

The reason for this, they said, is that the candidates are not ideologically tied to the group, nor do they follow a specific party line like traditional politicians.

The leaders of Movement Now said public online discussions would guide election themes. Next week the group plans to prepare its own proposals on reforms to the country's social and health care systems (known colloquially as sote), followed by a roadmap outlining 30 concrete election promises.

Supporters of the movement have raised several election issues, including Baltic Sea clean-up and improving social security for entrepreneurs.

Harkimo added that Movement Now candidates would have to commit to the group's jointly agreed targets, but individual candidates could also prop up issues important to them.

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