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Former PM Alexander Stubb elected president of Finland

by Dmytro Basmat February 12, 2024 2:23 AM 2 min read
French President Francois Hollande meets Alexander Stubb, Prime Minister of Finland at the Elysee Palace on Oc. 2, 2014 in Paris, France. (Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
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Former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb has won Finland's presidential election on Feb. 11, finishing narrowly ahead of former Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, in a race that heavily focused on the country's new role as a NATO neighbor of Russia.

Stubb, the candidate from the centre-right National Coalition Party, placed first with 51.6 percent of the vote, ahead of Haavisto's 48.4 percent.

Throughout his campaign, Stubb promised unconditional support for Ukraine and called for greater NATO partnership among European allies.

"The feeling is calm, humble but of course at the same time I am extremely happy and grateful that the Finns in such large numbers have voted and that I get to serve as president of the Republic of Finland," Stubb said during his victory speech.

The election largely focused on future security policies in response to Russian aggression in the region, and its relationships with international allies in Europe and with the United States.

After decades on non-alignment, Finland officially became the 31st member of NATO in April 2023, citing the international alliance as being "the only effective security guarantee in the region" amid Russia's all-out war against Ukraine.

The final results come after a first round of voting where no candidate gained a majority of the votes on Jan. 28.

Unlike some European countries whose president serves as a ceremonial figure, the Finnish president serves as both a head of state and commander-in-chief of the Finnish army, wielding executive power in dealing with foreign affairs.

Stubb's opponent Pekka Haavisto conceded the race on Sunday after finishing just under 100,000 votes behind Stubb.

"I believe Finland now gets a good president for the republic. Alexander Stubb is an experienced, competent person for the job. No more babble," Haavisto said.

Finland presidential election to go to runoff, former PM ahead
Finland’s presidential election is set to go to a runoff next month, as no candidate gained a majority of the votes on Jan. 28, in a race that has heavily focused Nordic nation’s new role as a neighboring NATO country with Russia.



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