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ERR in Finland: In complex security situation, presidential elections vital

Finnish presidential elections on Sunday. January 28, 2024.
Finnish presidential elections on Sunday. January 28, 2024. Source: ERR

Finland voted for president on Sunday, seeing high voter turnout as well as record-setting early voting numbers because amid a complex security situation, Finns consider who is president to be especially important.

Helsinki residents Hanna-Kaisa and Petri Vaittinen are among those who voted early. They acknowledged that Finland is in a completely different situation than it was before, and they're prepared to make sacrifices to ensure the survival of their homeland in these changed circumstances.

"There is a strong sense of patriotism in Finland, and I believe that many, including us, are prepared for changes or whatever it takes in Finland or our people's name," Hanna-Kaisa Vaittinen said.

The couple acknowledged that Finnish society is currently facing many challenges and difficulties that the president can't necessarily influence, however they should be an example to the people, as well as someone that people can rally around.

"Their role in security and foreign policy, as well as in NATO relations, is to be an example and a leader," Petri Vaittinen said.

"I believe they have legislative and such power in Finland too, but above all I still see them as a figurehead and role model, and what kind of leader they are is crucial in any case," Hanna-Kaisa Vaittinen added.

Also monitoring the situation is Kulosaari Electoral Committee member, clergy member and Helsinki City Council member Mika Ebeling. He, too, expects the president to be decisive in security policy, as well as unite the people.

"Never before has the president of Finland been elected in such trying circumstances, and this is without a doubt an incredibly demanding situation," he said.

According to Ebeling, people in Kulosaari have been active in hitting the polls.

Turnout has been high all over the Finnish capital on Sunday, and creatives' beloved Kallio is no different.

Tuglas Society CEO Jaana Vasama, the great admirer of the Estonian language and culture, cast her vote at the polling place set up at Kallio Library.

"For me, the most important thing right now is actually values," Vasama said. "Those values that there's very little talk about, about what's going on in our society. There are major changes taking place here, and there's been some talk about them, bur very little."

Everyone who spoke with ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Sunday expressed hope that a safe Finland respectful of values will continue to endure.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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