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Pekka Haavisto (Greens) appeared on YLE TV1's Ykkösaamu on 11 February, 2017.
Pekka Haavisto (Greens) appeared on YLE TV1's Ykkösaamu on 11 February, 2017.

Pekka Haavisto (Greens) announced his willingness to become the candidate of the Green League in the presidential elections of 2018 in an interview on YLE TV1 on Saturday.

Haavisto revealed to the public broadcasting company that he mulled over his decision for a while but decided in favour of seeking the presidency to ensure the elections will provoke discussion about the future and security of Finland.

“I thought about it for a while and decided to announce my candidacy. The global situation had an effect on my decision. My main focus will be on how Finland will be developed over the next one hundred years,” he said.

Haavisto, a two-time cabinet member, elaborated on the reasons for his decision in a video published on Facebook on Saturday.

“The world has changed considerably over the past five years,” he says on the video. “We've witnessed Russia's aggression in Crimea, Great Britain's Brexit referendum, the United States' new isolation, violence in Europe, the Syrian war and the enormous human emergency there.”

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“All of these also have their impact on Finland, but Finland has its impact on the world,” he states.

His announcement was met with excitement among his party comrades. Ville Niinistö, the chairperson of the Green League, argued that Haavisto's peace-building experience and value leadership is required not only by Finland but by the entire world.

Haavisto received almost 19 per cent of the votes in the first ballot of the presidential elections of 2012 before losing to Sauli Niinistö in the second ballot with his haul of nearly 1.1 million votes – equivalent to over 37 per cent of the votes.

The Centre Party was before last weekend the only party to nominate its candidate for the upcoming presidential elections. Its party conference selected former Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen in May, 2016.

Merja Kyllönen (Left Alliance), a Member of the European Parliament, revealed to Helsingin Sanomat on Friday that she is also prepared to enter the presidential race if asked to do so by the party conference in March.

President Sauli Niinistö has yet to announce whether or not he will seek re-election. Early polls suggest that if he decides to do so, he would be a clear frontrunner. An opinion poll commissioned by YLE in December found that Niinistö is more popular a presidential candidate than Haavisto also among supporters of the Green League.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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