Helsinki, Feb 11 (EFE).- Former prime minister Alexander Stubb won the runoff round of the Finnish presidential elections on Sunday with the minimum margin against his rival, ecologist Pekka Haavisto, and will be the next head of state of the Nordic country.
With 98.3% of the votes counted, Stubb won 51.7% of the vote against Haavisto’s 48.3%, a much smaller difference than previous polls had predicted, but enough to succeed fellow conservative Sauli Niinistö as president.
This is the closest presidential election result since the introduction of direct elections for the head of state in 1994.
“This is the greatest honor of my life,” Stubb told the press, visibly moved after learning the results.
“I am proud that at such a complicated time in the global geopolitical situation we were able to conduct such a civilized campaign,” he added.
Haavisto congratulated Stubb and said that Finland would have a very competent president thanks to his rival’s broad international experience.
Stubb and Haavisto entered the presidential runoff after beating the other seven candidates in the first round two weeks ago, winning 27.2 percent and 25.8 percent of the vote, respectively.
With this victory, Stubb will become the second president of the conservative National Coalition Party since 1956, following outgoing head of state Sauli Niinistö, who has completed his two six-year terms.
The Conservative candidate has served as prime minister from 2014 to 2015, and has been out of Finnish politics for almost seven years, during which time he served as vice president of the European Investment Bank and university professor.
The main responsibility of the Finnish president is to lead international and security policy in coordination with the government in power, a highly relevant issue due to the tense relations with Russia as a result of the invasion of Ukraine and Finland’s historic entry into NATO. EFE