World

Finns choose centre-right Stubb as president, preliminary results show

Initial results suggested Alexander Stubb is likely to finish ahead of independent candidate Pekka Haavisto from the green left.

National Coalition Party presidential candidate Alexander Stubb is likely to win Finland’s election, early results suggest (Emmi Korhonen./Lehtikuva via AP)
Alexander Stubb National Coalition Party presidential candidate Alexander Stubb is likely to win Finland’s election, early results suggest (Emmi Korhonen./Lehtikuva via AP) (Emmi Korhonen/AP)

Ex-prime minister Alexander Stubb is projected to win Finland’s presidential election run-off on Sunday against former foreign minister Pekka Haavisto.

Finnish public broadcaster YLE projected that centre-right candidate Mr Stubb, of the conservative National Coalition Party, wins the Finnish presidency with 51.4% of the votes, while independent candidate Mr Haavisto from the green left will get 48.6% of the votes.

YLE’s prediction, highly accurate in previous elections, is a mathematical model calculated on the basis of advance ballots and a certain number of Sunday’s votes under official data provided by the legal register centre. Exit polls are not generally used in Finland.

The projected result would make Mr Stubb, who was prime minister in 2014-2015 and has held at several other Cabinet posts, the 13th president of Finland since the Nordic country’s independence in 1917.

Mr Stubb, 55, and Mr Haavisto, 65, were the main contenders in the election where more than four million eligible voters picked a successor to hugely popular president, Sauli Niinisto, whose second six-year term expires in March. He was not eligible for re-election.

Sunday’s runoff was required because none of the original nine candidates got more than half of the votes in the January 28 first round where Mr Stubb emerged at the top with 27.3% of the votes and Mr Haavisto was the runner-up with 25.8%.