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Euro crisis dominates as Finns choose new president

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Euro crisis dominates as Finns choose new president


The people of Finland have begun voting in the first round of the presidential election after a campaign dominated by the euro crisis.

Opinion polls suggest most voters want the country to remain pro-Europe and in the single currency, despite growing euroscepticism.

The frontrunner, the conservative Sauli Niinistö, has seen his level of support drop quite drastically according to the polls.

A member of the governing party, the former finance minister has staunchly defended the euro and Finland’s role in the EU.

He is credited with having overseen the country’s economic recovery after the fall of the Soviet Union devastated Finnish trade.

A surprise figure could be another pro-European, the Green Party candidate Pekka Haavisto, who has risen to second place according to one poll, although some way behind the leader.

He says Finland no longer needs what he calls a ‘dinosaur president’ but someone close to the people.

Last April’s general election saw the highly eurosceptic Finns Party become the main opposition. But its outspoken candidate has been trailing in the polls.

The president has little real power but for many voters, diplomacy is one of the key roles.

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