In the second round of the Finnish presidential elections, Alexander Stubb has been elected as the new president of the Nordic country. Projections by Yle indicate that he narrowly defeated Pekka Haavisto, a former foreign minister and politician from the Greens. With almost 90 percent of the votes counted, Stubb is currently leading with 52.3 percent while Haavisto follows with 47.9 percent.
Alexander Stubb is a member of the National Coalition Party, a liberal-conservative party with a strongly pro-European profile. The 55-year-old Stubb served as Prime Minister of Finland for six months between June 2014 and May 2015 and subsequently held the position of Minister of Finance. A second round was necessary after none of the nine original candidates achieved an absolute majority on January 28. In this round, Stubb finished in first place with 27.2 percent compared to Haavisto’s 25.8 percent.
Jussi Halla-aho, a right-wing populist parliament speaker, and Olli Rehn, an ex-European Commissioner, were also clear contenders in the election, each receiving about 16 percent of the votes. Sauli Niinistö was previously president of Finland for twelve years before stepping down in December last year to pave way for this election.