Centre-right National Coalition Party leader Alexander Stubb has been elected the new President of Finland in a vote that marks a new era in the Nordic country, no longer neutral – now a NATO member with a fiercely anti-Russian political class.
Stubb narrowly won the election today (11), defeating liberal Green Party member Pekka Haavisto, who has conceded defeat.
To say that Stubb is pro-European, a strong supporter of Ukraine, and someone who has taken a tough stance towards Russia is not much, because the same could be said about Haasvisto.
There is no space in contemporary Finnish politics for any nuance when it comes to Russia.
“He declared himself winner in the run-off vote after securing 51.6% of the votes as 99.7% of ballots had been counted, against Haavisto’s 48.4%, justice ministry data showed.”
In Finland, the President has significant power as head of state, overseeing security and foreign policy.
This now includes the NATO hard-line stance towards Russia, which shares a long border with Finland.
In televised remarks, Stubb called his victory ‘the greatest honor’ of his life.
“‘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’, he said.”
“Haavisto congratulated Stubb as the 13th president of Finland. ‘I believe Finland now gets a good president for the republic. Alexander Stubb is an experienced, competent person for the job. No more babble’, he said.”
As a new member of NATO, Stubb will replace Sauli Niinisto, nicknamed ‘Putin Whisperer’ for his close ties with the Russian leader.
“Stubb will have a central role in defining Finland’s NATO policies, while taking the lead on overall foreign and security policy in close cooperation with the government and acting as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.”
Last month, Stubb explained his stance on Moscow:
“Politically, there will be no relations with the president of Russia or with the Russian political leadership until they stop the war in Ukraine.”
The Guardian reported:
“Stubb, 55, was born in Helsinki and has been a member of the European parliament, a member of Finland’s parliament, prime minister between 2014 and 2015, and a minister.
Outside politics he has worked as vice-president of the European Investment Bank and as a professor at the EU University in Florence, and is a keen triathlete.”
The campaign could not end without some woke complaints from the losing side:
“Haavisto, bidding to be the country’s first Green and first gay president questioned why his sexuality had been in the spotlight in recent days.
[…] As well as public debate of Haavisto’s sexuality, nuclear weapons were also a central topic.
While Stubb is in favour of allowing nuclear weapons to be transported through the country, Haavisto, who previously worked as a UN peace negotiator, wants to maintain Finland’s nuclear weapons ban.”
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