Alexander Stubb, a former Prime Minister of Finland, emerged as the 13th president of the Nordic nation after prevailing over former Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto in the recent election.
Stubb, a member of the conservative National Coalition party, secured 51.6% of the vote, while Haavisto of the Green Party received 48.4%, as reported by local media outlets.
Stubb expressed his victory as "the greatest honor" of his life, emphasizing that the responsibility transcends the individual. During a press conference, he pledged to prioritize Finland's interests and serve as the president for the entire nation. He expressed immense happiness and gratitude toward the large voter turnout and the opportunity to serve as the president of the republic.
Following two consecutive six-year terms, Stubb will succeed the incumbent Sauli Niinisto, known for fostering close relations with Russia. The presidential election holds significant importance due to Finland's recent entry into NATO and its firm stance against Russia.
Traditionally, Finland's president takes the lead on foreign and security policy, collaborates closely with the government, and serves as the commander-in-chief of the Finnish Defense Forces. Stubb will assume this pivotal role as Finland became the 31st member of NATO, marking a departure from decades of military non-alignment in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine.
Stubb is expected to represent Finland at NATO meetings. Haavisto extended his congratulations to Stubb and emphasized the importance of holding elections in good spirit to maintain national unity.
Finland's NATO membership has elicited warnings from Russia, with President Vladimir Putin accusing the West of pulling Finland into a military alliance and causing a division between Moscow and Helsinki. Additionally, Finland closed its border with Russia in response to alleged "hybrid attacks" and accusations of facilitating undocumented migrant crossings.