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25% of Finns would re-elect Niinistö President for 3rd term: poll

Published : 24 Feb 2020, 22:22

  DF News Desk

President Sauli Niinistö. File Photo Xinhua by Matti Matikainen.

A quarter of Finns support the idea that the tenure of current President Sauli Niinistö would be extended through parliamentary legislation, reported News agency Xinhua quoting a poll commissioned by a Finnish language newspaper Maaseudun Tulevaisuus (MT).

Finland's president is elected through a popular vote and they can stay in office for two six-year terms back to back.

This means that Niinistö cannot run in the 2024 election, except through a change to the Constitution. While a quarter of Finns would support the idea, 59 percent are against it and 15 are undecided, according to the MT poll.

Commenting of the result to MT, Janne Salminen, professor of public law at Turku University, said he is surprised with the high numbers. He said, however, that it would be difficult to find a five-sixths (5/6) parliamentary majority to enact the extension of the presidential tenure.

In a poll conducted last September by a leading Finnish language newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, 91 percent of Finns said they were either pleased or very pleased with Niinistö.

Support to extending Niinistö's term without an election was strongest in the Kansallinen Kokoomus (National Coalition Party-NCP) and the Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party). Those on the Vihreäliitto (Green League) or Vasemmistoliitto (Left Alliance) supporters were much less enthusiastic.

Niinistö is a former chairman of the Kokoomus.