Niinisto wins poll to become new Finnish president

Niinisto wins poll to become new Finnish president

Finns on Sunday elected former finance minister Sauli Niinisto of the conservative National Coalition Party as their new president, beating off the Green Party's Pekka Haavisto, who conceded defeat and congratulated the winner, dpa reported.

With 99.9 per cent of the vote counted, Niinisto had 62.6 per cent while Haavisto was on 37.4 per cent.

Niinsito said he was pleased with the outcome, adding: "It was better than I expected."

In a victory speech to cheering supporters at Finlandia House he promised to be "president of all Finland" and kissed his wife, Jenni Haukio.

The result was a comeback for the 63-year-old Niinisto who was narrowly defeated in a 2006 runoff by President Tarja Halonen, who cannot stand for a third six-year term.

The incoming president said he "valued cooperation, regardless of what party people represent."

Niinisto has been frontrunner since he last year confirmed he would run again. He is to meet Monday with Halonen, and takes over on March 1.

During his term as finance minister from 1996 to 2003 and later as speaker of parliament, he won a reputation for speaking frankly. A lawyer by training, he also served as justice minister.

"I am not hard or soft, but decisive," he said, when trying to "rectify things that are wrong."

Niinisto's first wife died in a car crash in 1995, leaving him to raise two young sons. In 2009, Niinisto remarried. His new wife, Jenni Haukio, born in 1977, is head of communications at his National Coalition Party, a position she must vacate as first lady.

The president's role is largely ceremonial but he has some say in foreign policy - at least on matters not related to the European Union, which is the reserve of the government.

Both Niinisto and Haavisto were viewed as pro-EU in their stances and said that Finland should support bailouts for eurozone members.

"The result was a strong message that Finland is a strong, pro-EU country," Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen said Sunday.

Haavisto, a former environment minister who left government in 1999, has in recent years worked as an international envoy for the United Nations and the EU in several hotspots, including Darfur.

The soft-spoken 53-year-old welcomed that the presidential campaign had introduced "a new tone" in Finland and that "many youth had voted."

The openly gay Haavisto, who in 2002 registered his partnership with Antonio Flores from Ecuador, made a strong showing. Two weeks ago he secured a place in the runoff, defeating Centre Party veteran Paavo Vayrynen for second place behind Niinisto.

Haavisto's campaign managed to generate support from many informal groups and tapped in on Facebook and social media to channel support.

Turnout was 69 per cent, compared to 77.2 per cent in the 2006 runoff. Sunday was another cold winter day in the country. Overnight temperatures dropped to new lows in several locations in eastern and northern Finland. The season's coldest temperature - minus 40.7 degrees - was registered in Naruska in Salla, eastern Lapland.

Another explanation for the lower turnout was that euro-sceptic voters abstained, analysts said.

For the first time in 30 years the country will have a president who was not endorsed by the Social Democrats.

About 4.4 million voters were eligible to vote. The Justice Ministry's election unit said 36 per cent of the voters had cast their ballots in advance voting.

Israel reports 873 new COVID-19 cases, 311,724 in total
Israel reports 873 new COVID-19 cases, 311,724 in total
Azerbaijan to win war, only few days left - political analyst
Azerbaijan to win war, only few days left - political analyst
Israel's billionaires hit by Covid-19 economic crisis
Israel's billionaires hit by Covid-19 economic crisis
Loading Bars
Latest
Situation at front - under Azerbaijani Armed Forces’ control - Defense Ministry
Fire brigade extinguishes fire in Azerbaijan’s Goranboy due to Armenian Armed Forces’ artillery strikes
I don't know how efficient meetings are going to be now with regard to Armenian leadership - President Aliyev
President Ilham Aliyev's response call for Armenia: Recognize Nagorno-Karabakh
Azerbaijani PM phones Turkish VP regarding recent earthquake
Turkey already engaged in Karabakh settlement, whether Armenia likes it or not - President Aliyev
President Aliyev says Pashinyan lies about Pakistani, Turkish forces fighting for Azerbaijan
President Aliyev talks online footage of armed clashes, Azerbaijan's military potential
If Armenia got sanctions imposed on it as with Iraq, conflict would've been resolved long ago - president
Armenian side has no moral norms, no honor or dignity - President Ilham Aliyev
News about earthquake in Turkey’s Izmir saddens Azerbaijan – FM
If someone willing to create second Armenian state, let them give away part of their own territory - Azerbaijani president
When three nuclear powers cannot exert pressure on Armenia, this raises questions - President Aliyev
Azerbaijani Embassy in Turkey opens hot line in connection with earthquake in Izmir
Combining efforts of Turkey and Russia to benefit region - President of Azerbaijan
What's happening now - results of Armenian PM Pashinyan's activity, says Azerbaijani president
Missile attacks on Barda by Armenian Armed Forces heavily damage local business entities (PHOTO)
Every human life is priceless, our losses are minimal - Azerbaijani president
If Azerbaijan agrees on political settlement, Armenia must withdraw from Kalbajar, Lachin and part of Aghdam immediately - president
Armenia says one thing to mediators, then does something completely different - President Aliyev
Azerbaijan destroys 2 more 'Smerch' rocket launchers of Armenian troops - MoD (VIDEO)
President Ilham Aliyev talks Armenian troops killed during recent military clashes
Georgian Tegeta motors opens “Toyota center” in Batumi
Armenia refuses to hand over body of 84-year-old Armenian to his family
Uzbekistan increases profitability of its textile exports
Kazakhstan's Nostrum Oil & Gas reveals revenues forecast for 9M2020
Meeting between FMs of Azerbaijan, Armenia kicks off in Geneva
Russian leading list of countries of main wine importers to Georgia
Azerbaijan shows footage of liberated Khudaferin village (VIDEO)
Provocation of Armenian delegate suppressed during EU video conference (PHOTO)
MFA receives no info on Azerbaijani citizens among quake casualties in Turkish Izmir yet
President of Turkmenistan made video statement at International Forum for Northern Economic Cooperation
US expert warns Europe, says Armenian terrorism must be stopped before too late
Azerbaijan reveals data on maritime cargo movement for 9M2020
Turkmenistan’s Oil Refineries extends tender for gasoline purchase
MyWayAirlines to conduct charter flight Tbilisi-Warsaw on November
Kazakhstan’s Nostrum increases 2020 oil forecast despite COVID-19 concerns
Georgia reveals volume of snail meat to be exported to Italy
Uzbekistan introduces automated system for monitoring liquefied gas supply to population
Revival of electronic coupons in Iran to hit low-income families in Iran - economist
Armenia attacks Azerbaijani settlements mainly from its territory
Azerbaijan puts several mercenaries brought by Armenia to Karabakh on int'l wanted list
Shelling of Barda by Armenian troops - flagrant crime against humanity, says Russian expert
Georgia establishes Agro Business Association
Azerbaijan's Constitutional Court appeals to foreign constitutional courts
Uzbekistan ranks first in gold sales in 3Q2020 - World Gold Council
Estimated real gross domestic product declines in Georgia
Time deposits volume surges in Kazakhstan year-on-year
Turnover on payment cards in Azerbaijan increases
Turkmenistan's Turkmenbashi Oil Refinery to increase oil refining depth
Number of people infected with COVID-19 in Iran exceeds 600,000
Kazakhstan's Almaty launches production of environmentally-friendly batteries
Azerbaijani president instructs to assess damage caused to Azerbaijan by Armenia – aide to president
Kazakhstan's oil refineries decrease oil refining volumes as COVID-19 pandemic hits demand
Armenian Armed Forces attacked strategic targets in Azerbaijan - Prosecutor General
Azerbaijan puts high-ranking Armenian officials on int’l wanted list
Azerbaijan puts foreign fighters recruited by Armenia on international wanted list
Azerbaijan appeals to European Court on Human Rights - aide to First VP of Azerbaijan
Bakcell supports the residents of Barda
Petkim’s products exported to 78 countries abroad
Central Bank of Azerbaijan decides to keep discount rate unchanged
Kazakhstan increases export to China despite COVID-19
Military tribunal must be organized to assess Armenia’s crimes – Assistant to Azerbaijani president
SOS Children’s Villages International to do everything to support children during Karabakh conflict
7 families killed as result of Armenian terror against Azerbaijan – Azerbaijani prosecutor general
Armenia commits environmental terror against Azerbaijan - Ministry of Ecology (PHOTOS)
Macroeconomic stability remains steady in Azerbaijan - Central Bank chairman
Azerbaijan raises import of cars in 9M2020
Azerbaijan confirms 480 more COVID-19 recoveries
President Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijani Army liberates 9 villages of Jabrayil, Zangilan and Gubadli districts
Passenger transportation decreases in Azerbaijan due to COVID-19 pandemic
STAR Refinery’s investment value to near $7B
Azerbaijani prosecutor general reveals civil casualties, injuries inflicted by Armenia
Kazakhstan's KazMunayGas reports decrease of oil transportation volumes
General Prosecutor's Office discloses crimes committed by Armenian Armed Forces against Azerbaijan
Temporary special administrations to be established in Azerbaijan`s territories liberated from occupation
Azerbaijani army destroys missile-artillery warehouse of Armenian Armed Forces - MoD (VIDEO)
Iran talks agricultural exports to Iraq despite restrictions
Kazakhstan's national oil company faces output decrease at country's major oilfields
Euro zone GDP jumps more than expected in third quarter q/q, prices fall
OSCE MG meeting on Karabakh conflict in Geneva to be closed for media
Permissions granted for building construction down in Georgia
Uzbek Ministry of Finance projects revenues, expenditure of consolidated state budget
Turkmenistan privatizing number of facilities to increase private sector's share in economy
Iran to allocate funds for projects in Malayer city
Khaf-Herat railway between Iran, Afganistan to commence by mid-November
Azerbaijan doesn’t succumb to provocations, responding to aggressor on battlefield - Israeli expert
Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office assesses damage done from Armenian vandalism
Iran's IRGC provides support to COVID-affected families
Fish production in Iran's Amlash city increases on annual basis
UK condemns continued shelling of civilian areas following attack on Azerbaijani Barda
Russian Export Center talks about exports to Azerbaijan
Glencore reports copper extraction volume decrease in Kazakhstan
Azerbaijan may expand business loan programs - Central Bank
MoD says Armenia's info on shooting down Azerbaijan's UAV - lie
Azerbaijan to develop its lands liberates from occupation via its own sources
World Bank to fund modernization of national innovation system in Uzbekistan
Azerbaijani oil prices decline
Azerbaijani currency rates for Oct. 30
Azerbaijani parliament grateful to Pakistan’s National Assembly for condemning Armenia's aggression
All news