Fin­land’s Pres­i­dent Wins Re-Elec­tion In Land­slide

Iran News - - FRONT PAGE -

HELSINKI (Dis­patches) - Fin­nish Pres­i­dent Sauli Ni­in­isto crushed his com­pe­ti­tion with a land­slide elec­tion vic­tory Sun­day that saw him re­ceiv­ing more than five times as much voter sup­port than his clos­est chal­lenger.

With all bal­lots counted, Ni­in­isto had 62.7 per­cent of the vote, while his lead­ing ri­val, Pekka Haav­isto of the Greens, had 12.4 per­cent.

Haav­isto, the run­ner-up in the 2012 elec­tion, con­ceded the race long be­fore the vote-count was com­pleted, telling Fin­nish na­tional broad­caster Ni­in­isto “is the repub­lic’s new pres­i­dent with this re­sult.”

None of the other six can­di­dates re­ceived more than 7 per­cent of the vote.

Ni­in­isto, 69, a for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter and par­lia­ment speaker, has been a highly pop­u­lar pres­i­dent since he took of­fice in 2012. He needed a ma­jor­ity to pre­vent a runoff and to win re-elec­tion out­right.

He ran as an in­de­pen­dent with no as­so­ci­a­tion to the con­ser­va­tive Na­tional Coali­tion Party that he ear­lier chaired.

Fin­land’s pres­i­dent de­signs the blue­print for the coun­try’s for­eign and se­cu­rity pol­icy to­gether with the gov­ern­ment. As head of state, the pres­i­dent is the key for­eign pol­icy player, par­tic­u­larly on is­sues out­side the Euro­pean Union.

The pres­i­dent also acts as the supreme com­man­der of mil­i­tary forces and can veto leg­is­la­tion.

To most Finns, the pres­i­dent’s key task is to as­sure friendly ties with both neigh­bor­ing Rus­sia, which shares a 1,340 kilo­me­ter (833-mile) bor­der with Fin­land, and the West, par­tic­u­larly the United States.

Judged by his vast pop­u­lar­ity, Ni­in­isto seem­ingly han­dled the bal­anc­ing act well. Fin­land joined the EU in 1995, but doesn’t be­long to NATO.

Re­cent polls pre­dicted Ni­in­isto would get be­tween 58 and 63 per­cent of the vote and Haav­isto of the Greens would garner some 14 per­cent.

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