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Pop stars and small donations help Haavisto bridge campaign funding gap

Green League presidential candidate Pekka Haavisto has received a surge in donations since he upset the odds to make it through to the second round run-off. At midday on Tuesday donations to his campaign totalled around 408,000 euros. That’s still a long way short of the favourite and front-runner, Sauli Niinistö, whose campaign estimates its total budget at around 1.2 million euros.

Pekka Haavisto ja hänen puolisonsa Antonio Flores toisen kierroksen kanmpanja-avauksessa.
Pekka Haavisto ja hänen puolisonsa Antonio Flores toisen kierroksen kanmpanja-avauksessa Helsingissä 23. tammikuuta. Image: YLE

A little less than half of Haavisto’s budget was contributed after he had progressed to the second round of the election. The average donation is 25 euros, and they have mostly come from private individuals. Haavisto's campaign also has 17 corporate supporters.

Haavisto’s campaign manager Riikka Kämppi says that the Haavisto team has already considered how much money they need, and at what point they would prefer people to volunteer to take an active role in the campaign.

”Our strategy has not been that paid-for adverts could make Pekka president,” she said.

Haavisto’s funds will also be boosted by next Monday’s benefit concert by the wildly popular 1990s pop group Ultra Bra. The band announced on Tuesday that they would re-form to play the gig at Helsinki Ice Hall. The 7,000 tickets, priced at 10-25 euros, sold out in a little less than two hours.

Many of the band's lyrics were written by current Green MP and former Labour Minister Anni Sinnemäki. Left Alliance chair Paavo Arhinmäki's assistant Anna Tulosto was also a member in the early days.

Niinistö’s estimated budget stands at 1.2 million euros

National Coalition party candidate Sauli Niinistö’s budget is clearly bigger than Haavisto’s. His budget for the first round came in at around a million euros, but the campaign did not spend that much and some is left for the second round. NCP party secretary Taru Tujunen did not want to estimate just how much remained.

In addition to that, Tujunen said that around 200,000 euros would be needed for the second round. According to his campaign funding declaration, Niinistö had received around 320,000 euros from companies and 630,000 euros from individuals.

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