Former Prime Minister Wins Finnish Presidency with 51.6% of Votes
Finland's former prime minister has become the country's new president. On Sunday, Finns elected their 13th president, Alexander Stubb. He managed to retain the first position in the polls and the first round until the end, Yle writes.
The difference between the candidates, Alexander Stubb and Pekka Haavisto, was negligible - 3.2 percentage points. But Stubb received 98,663 more votes than Haavisto.
Stubb, 55, of the National Coalition party, announced his victory on Sunday evening, and Haavisto, a former foreign minister and member of the Green Party who is running as an independent, congratulated him.
After all the votes were counted, Stubb received 51.6% of the vote. Almost half of them - about 46% of voters who were allowed to participate in early voting, according to official figures - did so.
In his speech, Stubb said that the role would be the "greatest honour" of his life, adding: "The task of the president of the republic is bigger than the man."
Before the election, he said that Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine convinced him to return to Finnish politics and help stand up to Moscow.
Stubb was born in Helsinki. He has served as a member of the European Parliament, a member of the Finnish parliament, prime minister in 2014-2015, and a minister. He has also served as Vice President of the European Investment Bank and as a professor at the EU University of Florence.
The 65-year-old Haavisto, who wanted to become the country's first green and first gay president, asked why his sexuality had been in the spotlight in recent days. He was surprised by how his sexual orientation had become a matter of public interest in the second and final round, and said that journalists, particularly those at national broadcaster Yle, had "provoked" the debate around it.
In addition to the public debate over Haavisto's sexuality, nuclear weapons have also been a central topic.
Stubb is in favour of allowing nuclear weapons to be transported through the country. Haavisto, who previously worked as a peace negotiator at the UN, wants to keep Finland's nuclear weapons ban in place.
In Finland, the president is the head of state and commander-in-chief of the army and is responsible for foreign policy in cooperation with the government.
International security and defence was a priority for Finnish voters amid accusations of Russia inciting a "hybrid operation" on the common border between Russia and Finland, which forced Finland to temporarily close the border completely.
In turn, Stubb called foreign policy and security existential issues for Finland.