Alexander Stubb has been elected as the new President of Finland after winning the second round of the presidential elections. The public broadcaster Yle reported that he narrowly defeated Pekka Haavisto, the former Foreign Minister and politician from the Greens, who conceded defeat. According to Yle’s projections, with almost 90 percent of the votes counted, Stubb has 52.3 percent while Haavisto has 47.9 percent.
Alexander Stubb is a member of the National Coalition Party, a liberal-conservative party with a strongly pro-European profile. He was briefly Prime Minister of Finland between June 2014 and May 2015 and subsequently served as Minister of Finance. A second round was necessary after none of the nine original candidates achieved an absolute majority on January 28. In the first round, Stubb finished in first place with 27.2 percent, compared to 25.8 percent for his rival Haavisto.
Right-wing populist parliament speaker Jussi Halla-aho and ex-European Commissioner Olli Rehn were also in the race but did not achieve an absolute majority in the first round. They finished with about 16 percent each and were allowed to cross their fingers about their aspirations for future elections or leadership roles within their respective parties or coalitions. Sauli Niinistö was president of Finland for twelve years before stepping down in November 2017 to make way for Stubb’s election as president.