According to preliminary results, centre-right Alexander Stubb wins Finland’s presidential election runoff on Sunday against Pekka Haavisto from the green left.
Ex-Prime Minister Alexander Stubb is expected to win Finland’s presidential elections on Sunday against former Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, according to Finnish public broadcaster YLE.
YLE projected Stubb of the conservative National Coalition Party wins the Finnish presidency with 51.4 percent of the votes, while Haavisto from the green left gets 48.6 percent of the votes.
YLE’s prediction, highly accurate in previous elections, is a mathematical model calculated on the basis of advance ballots and a certain number of Sunday’s votes under official data provided by the Legal Register Centre. Exit polls aren’t generally used in Finland.
The winner’s main task will be to guide the new NATO member’s foreign and security policy amid Russia’s grinding invasion of Ukraine.
Stubb and Haavisto largely agree on Finland’s foreign policy and security priorities. These include maintaining a hard line toward Russia – which shares a sprawling 1,340 km border with Finland – strengthening security ties with the US Washington and helping Ukraine.
Unlike in most European countries, the president of Finland holds executive power in formulating foreign and security policy.
They do so with the government, especially concerning countries outside the European Union such as the United States, Russia and China.
The head of state also commands the military, particularly important amid Europe’s current security environment and Finland’s changed geopolitical situation, which joined NATO in April 2023.
Stubb took the top spot in the first round of the election on Jan. 28 with 27.2 percent of the votes, ahead of the eight other candidates.
Stubb led the government in 2014-2015 and earlier held several other Cabinet posts.
Haavisto, the runner-up in the first round, was Finland’s top diplomat in 2019-2023 and the main negotiator of its entry into NATO. A former conflict mediator with the United Nations and a devout environmentalist, Haavisto took 25.8 percent of the votes in the first round.
A runoff was required because none of the candidates got more than half of the votes in Jan. 28’s first round.
More than 4 million people were eligible to vote. The winner will succeed highly popular President Sauli Niinistö, whose second six-year term expires in March.
Niinistö is not eligible for reelection.