The two candidates – Stubbs and Haavisto – agreed before the elections that whoever wins, the winner will visit the other candidate after learning the election results. And this promise was also kept, when Stubb arrived at the place where the results were awaited by Peka Haavisto and his team.
“Soon I will hand over the microphone to you, Aleksandr, but first I want to thank your entire campaign team. This has been a fair campaign. Finnish democracy is based on having volunteers who run good campaigns. We send our warmest regards to Aleksandr’s team for his campaign’s main party events instead,” Havisto said.
Stubbs also did not skimp on kind words, pointing out that the two are good friends.
“I want to thank you personally for this journey we have made together. On the other side of the screen, there in Finnish public media, we shook hands and even hugged. This would have been a much more difficult journey for both of us if we had not been such good friends and if we would not respect each other. You are one of the best people I have ever met.”
Stubbs was the prime minister in 2014-2015. He was also Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Finance, Minister of European Affairs and Trade, as well as Vice President of the European Investment Bank.
As the new president of Finland, he will have great influence in shaping the country’s foreign policy and will become the supreme commander of the army.
After the victory, Stubbs admitted that he wants to continue the course taken by the previous president Sauli Nīniste, but it is understood that a new era is starting now. He said that Finland is now a member of NATO and the post-Cold War era is over.
At the press conference, Stubb was also asked questions about relations with Russia.
“First of all, I think it’s pretty self-evident that it’s difficult to have any kind of political dialogue with [Vladimiru] Putin while Russia is waging an aggressive war against Ukraine. So I don’t see any communication with Putin or the Russian political leadership in the near future. Of course, we all want to find a way to peace, but it seems to me that right now that way is only through the battlefield,” admitted Stubbs.
“Right now, we need to focus on supporting Ukraine. We need to give them money, ammunition, weapons and move them towards membership in the European Union and NATO. Perhaps the best thing we can do is to strongly support Ukraine,” Stubb emphasized.
Meanwhile, the 65-year-old Hávisto admitted after his loss that he will concentrate on his work as a member of parliament and does not plan to run in any elections, at least in the near future, and may never do so again.
The newly elected president of Finland is 55 years old. He was born in Helsinki to a bilingual Finnish-Swedish family.
Knows five languages. He was educated both in the USA and in European universities – in France, Belgium, Great Britain. The doctorate is in international politics. He started his political career 20 years ago, first as a Member of the European Parliament, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of European Affairs and Foreign Trade, and later as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. He has also worked in leading positions of international institutions.
The newly elected president of Finland will take office on March 1. On his first foreign visit, he will go to Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, which is traditionally the usual route for all Finnish presidents.