Finns go to the polls for presidential run-off amid tensions with Russia | EUROtoday

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Voters in Finland are selecting Sunday between two skilled politicians to be their subsequent president, whose essential process shall be to steer the Nordic nation’s overseas and safety coverage now that it’s a member of NATO, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Former prime minister Alexander Stubb, 55, on the middle proper, and former overseas minister Pekka Haavisto, 65, from the inexperienced left, largely agree on Finland’s overseas coverage and safety priorities.

These embrace sustaining a tough line towards Moscow and Russia’s present management, strengthening safety ties with Washington, and the necessity to assist Ukraine each militarily and at a civilian stage. Finland shares a 1,340-kilometer (832-mile) border with Russia.

Unlike in most European international locations, the president of Finland holds government energy in formulating overseas and safety coverage along with the federal government, particularly regarding international locations outdoors the European Union such because the United States, Russia and China.

The head of state additionally instructions the navy — significantly vital in Europe’s present safety surroundings and the modified geopolitical state of affairs of Finland, which joined NATO in April 2023 within the aftermath of Russia’s assault on Ukraine a yr earlier.

A politician with the conservative National Coalition Party, Stubb took the highest spot within the first spherical of the election on Jan. 28 with 27.2% % of the votes, forward of the eight different candidates, and is the favourite to win the presidency.

Stubb led the federal government in 2014-2015 and earlier held a number of different Cabinet posts.

Haavisto, the runnerup within the first spherical, was Finland’s prime diplomat in 2019-2023 and the principle negotiator of its entry into NATO. A former battle mediator with the United Nations and a religious environmentalist, Haavisto took 25.8% of the votes within the first spherical.

A runoff was required as a result of not one of the candidates received greater than half of the votes in Jan. 28’s first spherical.

More than 4 million individuals are eligible to vote. The winner will succeed extremely well-liked President Sauli Niinistö, whose second six-year time period expires in March. Niinistö shouldn’t be eligible for reelection.