Former conservative Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb won Sunday’s presidential election, according to final results.
He received 51.6% of the vote, while his Green Party rival, Pekka Haavisto, the former foreign minister, had 48.4%. Mr. Haavisto has already admitted defeat.
These are the first elections since Finland joined the NATO military alliance.
Mr Stubb, 55, takes a tough approach to Russia, with which the Nordic nation shares a long land border.
He had declared NATO membership a “done deal” for his country as soon as Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Finland officially became the 31st member of the Washington-led alliance last April.
At a press conference on Sunday evening, Stubb, a member of the Finnish National Coalition Party, described his election victory as “the greatest honor of my life”.
He also stressed that it was “rather obvious that it is difficult to have any political dialogue with Putin as long as Russia is waging a war of aggression against Ukraine.”
“So I don’t see any form of communication with Putin or with Russian political leaders in the near future. We all want to find a path to peace, but it seems to me that this path only passes through the battlefield, at the moment .”
Mr. Haavisto, an independent candidate, admitted his defeat.
“Well, Alexander. Congratulations to the 13th President of Finland,” the 65-year-old said.
“If you ask me today if I will ever participate in elections again, my answer is probably ‘no’, not for a while and maybe never,” added Mr. Haavisto, who also ran unsuccessfully for the presidency twice before.
Instead, he said he would now focus on his work as a lawmaker.
Mr. Stubb will officially take office on March 1, replacing Sauli Niinisto.
The head of state of Finland is directly responsible for foreign and security policy and is the commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces.