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Sari Essayah new chair of Christian Democratic Party

MP and economist Sari Essayah has been elected to take over the reins of the Christian Democratic Party from long-time leader Päivi Räsänen.

Sari Essayah.
Image: Jukka Lintinen / Yle

The Christian Democratic Party said Friday that support for new chair Sari Essayah had been unanimous. Another MP, Sari Tanus, withdrew from the contest before ballots were cast by 666 voting delegates at the party’s convention in Savonlinna.

Essayah, who is also a former world champion race walker, has been active in the party since 1996. She was first elected to the Parliament in 2003 and in 2009 became a member of the European parliament but was not re-elected in 2014.

She was also the party’s candidate in the 2012 presidential election but placed last in the polls.

Outgoing leader Päivi Räsänen led the party for nearly 11 years before announcing earlier this year that she would not be contesting the chairmanship during this year’s meeting of delegates.

Recent opinion polls show that the Christian Democratic Party has steadily lost support among voters; Yle's last poll at the end of July put backing for the party at less than three percent.

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