Stubb, Haavisto enter Finland’s presidential election finals

Helsinki: The presidential candidate for the National Coalition and former Prime Minister Alexander Stubb will face the independent Green candidate, former Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, in the second round of Finland’s presidential election on February 11.

With 99 per cent of the votes counted, Stubb received 27.1 per cent support, followed by Haavisto with 25.8 per cent. Jussi Halla-aho, candidate of the Finns Party and Speaker of the Parliament of Finland, garnered a 19 per cent support, Xinhua news agency reported.

The voter turnout for the first round on Sunday reached 74.9 per cent, compared to 69.9 per cent in the 2018 presidential election.

Both Stubb and Haavisto refrained from giving policy statements on Sunday night regarding the final campaigns.

Speaking about campaigning with Haavisto in the second round, Stubb said there will be a civilised discussion about challenging foreign and security policy issues regardless of the opponent.

Describing the first round voting as a very good result, Haavisto acknowledged some disagreements with Stubb but declined to specify. He stressed that they share similar views on major security policy issues.

As supporters of seven other presidential candidates must now choose between Stubb and Haavisto, pre-first-round polls indicated that Stubb would likely win with 59 per cent against Haavisto’s 41 per cent in the second round.

Some analysts noted that the major strike wave against the austerity measures of the current Finnish government, scheduled for this Thursday and Friday, may also influence the outcome.

While domestic politics and labour relations fall outside the scope of presidential powers in Finland, these issues entered the race against the backdrop of the unanimity on security and foreign policy.

Advance balloting for the second round begins on Wednesday, January 31, and ends on February 6.



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