Halonen and Niinistö neck-and-neck heading into Sunday's run-off election in Finland

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Friday, January 27, 2006

The latest poll from Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat in co-operation with Gallup puts the two remaining candidates - incumbent president Tarja Halonen (Social Democratic Party) and former minister of finance Sauli Niinistö (Coalition Party) - in a dead heat, heading into the second and final round of the Finnish presidential election on Sunday. 51% of the respondents supported Halonen, while 49% supported Niinistö. The result is within the margin of error at 3%. Approximately 24% of those questioned refused to state who they will vote for.

Previous polls had given Halonen - who received about 46% of the votes in the first election nearly two weeks ago against runner-up Niinistö's 24% - a larger lead, though the movement is within the margin of error. In a poll conducted by Finnish TV channel MTV3 on Tuesday Halonen and Niinistö were supported by 55% and 45% of the respondents, respectively.

The Finnish presidential elections are completed in at most two rounds. If no candidate receives a majority of the votes in the first round, the two top candidates compete in a run-off election two weeks later.

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