Alexander Stubb has been elected as the new president of Finland after winning the second round of presidential elections. The 55-year-old Stubb, who belongs to the National Coalition Party, narrowly defeated former Foreign Minister and politician Pekka Haavisto of the Greens in a closely contested election. Projections by public broadcaster Yle indicate that Stubb received almost 90 percent of the votes counted so far, with 52.3 percent compared to Haavisto’s 47.9 percent.
Stubb was briefly Prime Minister of Finland between June 2014 and May 2015 and subsequently served as Minister of Finance. He is known for his strongly pro-European profile and his commitment to promoting Finnish interests on the international stage. His victory marks a continuation of current President Sauli Niinistö’s twelve-year tenure in office, as Niinistö was also a member of the National Coalition Party.
The second round was necessary after none of the nine original candidates achieved an absolute majority on January 28. Right-wing populist parliament speaker Jussi Halla-aho and ex-European Commissioner Olli Rehn were clearly behind, each with about 16 percent of the votes, but were allowed to cross their fingers about their aspirations for future political careers. Despite facing strong opposition from left-leaning candidates like Haavisto, Stubb’s victory demonstrates his ability to win over voters across different ideological divides in Finland.