Finland’s former premier wins presidential election

Centre-right Alexander Stubb defeats former Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto

Leila Nezirevic  | 11.02.2024 - Update : 12.02.2024
Finland’s former premier wins presidential election


Finland's former Prime Minister Alexander Stubb became the Nordic country’s 13th president after defeating former Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto in Sunday’s election.

Stubb, of the conservative National Coalition party, secured 51.6% of the vote, while Haavisto of the Green Party received 48.4%, according to local media.

Stub characterized his victory as “the greatest honor” of his life, saying the task is bigger than the person.

"I will do my best every day and put Finland's interests first. I want to be the president of the entire nation," he said at a press conference.

He added that he was “infinitely happy and grateful that Finns have voted in such large numbers” and that he has been given the opportunity to serve as president of the republic.

Stubb will be replacing incumbent Sauli Niinisto, known for his role in maintaining close ties with Russia and who was forced to step down after two six-year terms.

The high-stakes presidential election is widely seen as historically the most important amid Finland’s recent entry into NATO and the country’s strong stance against Russia.

Finland’s president usually takes the lead on foreign and security policy while maintaining close collaboration with the government and is acting as commander-in-chief of the Finnish Defense Forces.

Stubb will lead the nation in its new role after Finland became the 31st member of NATO last April, ending decades of military non-alignment as the result of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

He will be expected to represent Finland at NATO meetings.

Haavisto congratulated Stubb on his victory and has said that he does not think of politics in terms of victories and disappointments.

"The most important thing is that the elections were held in a good spirit and that Finland is not divided,” he said at a press conference after the vote.

Finland's NATO membership prompted Russia to warn that it would be forced to take “retaliatory measures” to address “security threats” with Russian President Vladimir Putin accusing the West of “dragging” the Nordic country into a military alliance and creating a rift between Moscow and Helsinki.

In December, Finland closed its border with Russia, with Finnish authorities accusing Moscow of carrying out a "hybrid attack" and purposefully helping undocumented migrants cross into the country, which Russia denied.

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