In Finland's presidential election, voters went to the polls on Sunday, resulting in a tightly contested victory for former Prime Minister Alexander Stubb from the center-right National Coalition Party, edging out liberal Green Party candidate Pekka Haavisto.
With 99.7% of votes tallied, Stubb secured the presidency with 51.6% of the vote, compared to Haavisto's 48.4%, as reported by Reuters.
In his new role, Stubb will address pivotal issues such as Finland's security, foreign policy, and relations with neighboring Russia. Known for his pro-European stance, Stubb has been a vocal supporter of Ukraine and a critic of Russia.
Expressing his gratitude, Stubb regarded his election as "the greatest honor" of his life, feeling both calm and humbled by the trust Finns have placed in him.
"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," Stubb said.
The runoff followed Stubb's lead in the first round, where he garnered 27.2% of the vote.
Haavisto acknowledged Stubb's victory, praising him as a skilled and experienced choice for Finland's presidency, signaling a transition from the country's longstanding diplomatic approach towards Russia and non-alignment with military alliances. This strategy was reevaluated following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022, leading Finland to join NATO in April 2023.
"I believe Finland now gets a good president for the republic," he said. "Alexander Stubb is an experienced, competent person for the job. No more babble."
Stubb is set to succeed Sauli Niinisto, known for his diplomacy with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is stepping down after two six-year terms.