Former conservative prime minister Alexander Stubb won the presidential elections in Finland on Sunday, defeating former foreign minister Pekka Haavisto, in a vote marked by tensions with Russia, after the Nordic country’s recent accession to NATO, reports AFP.
Alexander StubbPhoto: Markku Ulander/LEHTIKUVA / Sipa Press / Profimedia
“Alexander, congratulations to the 13th president of Finland,” said Haavisto, a member of the Greens, but who ran as an independent, on public television, writes Agerpres.
Alexander Stubb obtained 51.7% of the votes in the second round of the elections, after counting 98.3% of the ballots.
70.7% of the approximately 4.3 million voters in Finland turned out to vote.
Stubb also ranked first in the first round of voting, held on January 28.
With limited powers compared to those of the prime minister, the head of state, elected for a six-year term, directs the country’s foreign policy in close cooperation with the government. He is also the supreme commander of the armed forces.
This important role has gained even greater significance in the light of geopolitical developments in Europe and the entry into NATO of Finland, which has 1,340 kilometers of common border with Russia.
Both strongly supported Ukraine
Both candidates in Sunday’s presidential election in Finland are pro-European and staunch supporters of Ukraine, and have taken a tough stance on Russia in their campaigns.
In an interview last month, Stubb said that, for now, there would be no Russian element in Finland’s foreign policy:
“Politically, there will be no relations with the Russian president or the Russian political leadership until they stop the war in Ukraine.”
Stubb favors deep cooperation with NATO, such as allowing the transport of nuclear weapons on Finnish soil and stationing NATO troops in Finland permanently. However, he does not support the storage of nuclear weapons in Finland.