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Former PM Stubb wins Finland’s presidential election as rival concedes

Former conservative prime minister Alexander Stubb won Sunday's Finnish presidential election, after rival Pekka Haavisto conceded with nearly all of the votes counted.

Some 4.3 million voters were choosing between Stubb and former foreign minister Pekka Haavisto, a Green Party MP running as an independent.

"Well, Alexander. Congratulations to Finland's 13th president," Haavisto told Stubb on live television, as the results of broadcaster Yle's prognosis gave Stubb the win with 51.4 percent of the vote.

The official count meanwhile gave Stubb 51.7 percent of the vote with over 98 percent of ballots counted.

"This is the greatest honour of my life," Stubb said after Haavisto conceded.

The changing geopolitical landscape in Europe will be the main challenge for the new head of state, who -- while having limited powers compared to the prime minister -- guides the country's foreign policy together with the government and acts as supreme commander of Finland's armed forces.

Relations between Moscow and Helsinki deteriorated following Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine, prompting Finland to drop decades of military non-alignment and join NATO in April 2023.

Russia, with whom Finland shares a 1,340-kilometre (830-mile) border, swiftly warned of "countermeasures".

In the post-Cold War period, Helsinki maintained good relationships with Moscow.

(AFP)


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