Haavisto heads to Washington; and still leads presidential poll

The new poll was carried out before Parliament decided to investigate Haavisto's actions over how he handled the case of Isis-linked Finns at al-Hol refugee camp in Syria.

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File picture of Green League chairman Pekka Haavisto / Credit: News Now Finland

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) is heading to Washington DC today for talks with his US counterpart Mike Pompeo.

On the agenda for the two-day trip is bilateral relations between the two countries, plus the situation in Afghanistan, the Middle East process, Russia, Libya and transatlantic relations as well.

Haavisto will also speak at an event at Georgetown University to discuss mediation and the role of women in conflict resolution.

New presidential election poll

Haavisto’s trip comes as a new poll – taken before Parliament decided to move forward with an investigation into his professional conduct – shows Haavisto still leading the pack for any prospective presidential election race.

There are no declared candidates from any party yet for the 2024 election, but acccording to the new poll in Rural Future magazine, Haavisto enjoys 18% support while Olli Rehn (Centre) has 11% support.

Other possible contenders in the poll include Finns Party leader Jussi Halla-aho in third place on 9%; and Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori (NCP) and MEP Eero Heinäluoma (SDP) sharing fourth place on 6% support.

Haavisto is popular with both Social Democrats and Left Alliance supporters as well as his Green voters. He has contested two previous presidential elections – in 2012 and 2018 – and finished second both times behind Sauli Niinistö.

The poll surveyed more than 1200 people in February, and there’s a margin of error of three percentage points.

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