As expected, there will be a second round in the Finnish presidential election. The liberal-conservative Coalition Party’s Alexander Stubb is running against the independent ‘Green’ candidate Pekka Haavisto.
– We made it to the finals! But you know what, the battle has only just begun, Alexander Stubb told an enthusiastic audience at the National Coalition Party’s election night party.
Stubb, who has served as Finland’s prime minister and finance minister, received 27.2 percent of the vote. Haavisto, who describes himself as politically independent but is supported and promoted by the Greens and has a history as environment minister and leader of both the Greens and the European Green Party, came a close second with 25.8%.
– I ask you for three things, number one, we will work insanely hard over the next 13 days. Number 2: We will be humble. Number 3: We will respect our opponent and run an honest race. Then we will see where the blue bar is, said Stubb, who has a long history of EU involvement and is also Vice President of the European Investment Bank.
Haavisto was also pleased, pointing out that they had won in major cities such as Helsinki and Tampere, as well as in Åland.
True Finns’ candidate Jussi Halla-Aho came third with about 19% of the vote in an election in which 74.9% of Finns voted – a turnout described as “high”.
Record number of early votes
– It is high. There is a lot of talk about Finns not being interested in politics, but that is not true, political scientist Åsa von Schoultz told Yle.
There are also big regional differences. In Helsinki, 78.5 percent of the population voted, compared to 64.7 percent in Åland. In addition, 44.6 percent of the electorate voted in advance, which is also a historic number.
Since none of the candidates is close to getting half of the votes, a second round will be held on February 11, when Stubb will face Haavisto. It should also be noted that the figures are preliminary and the verification count is expected to be completed only on Tuesday evening.
On March 1, incumbent president Sauli Niinistö will leave office and the newly elected president will take office.