Alexander Stubb, former prime minister of Finland, was elected president of the country this Sunday (11) after a fierce dispute in the second round. The politician is from the National Coalition Party, considered center-right. Stubb won with 51.6% of the vote, defeating the center-left Green Party, which got 48.4%.
In the Scandinavian country, the president heads foreign policy and the armed forces. Stubb comes to office at a delicate time of tensions caused since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022. Finland is of particular importance as it is on the border of the European Union, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), with the country commanded with an iron fist by Vladimir Putin.
It was precisely the war that took the politician away from a seven-year break, motivating him to return to the election. After the victory, he said that “we must remember that one of the president’s main duties is to ensure that Finland promotes peace, which is what I will do as president.”
Stubb replaces Sauli Niinistö, from the same party, who is finishing his second six-year term, the maximum allowed under local laws. The outgoing president was one of the main figures behind Finland’s decision to become a member of NATO in April last year.
Stubb grew up in the western part of the capital Helsinki. At home, he heard both the Finnish language, from his father, and the Swedish language, from his mother — Swedish is spoken by a significant minority of Finns.
After holding seats in the European Parliament (his first elected position, 20 years ago) and being appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, he was Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. In 2017, he promised he was out of politics for good.
Known before for a more abrasive personality than normal for Finns, and for having apologized for swearing in an official meeting, this time Stubb impressed the electorate with his maturity and cordiality towards his rivals.
He also showed himself to be more energetic in military matters, willing to have nuclear weapons on Finnish territory, if necessary. Local analysts believe that the Kremlin should launch provocations against the new president for his hard-line stance against Russia.
The term begins on March 1st. “It’s the greatest honor of my life,” celebrated Stubb.