Former prime minister Alexander Stubb and former foreign minister Pekka Haavisto are to compete in the second round of presidential elections in Finland.
As polls closed at 8pm local time and election day vote counting got under way, figures published by Finland’s justice department showed that Stubb, of the centre-right National Coalition party, was in the lead with 27.1%.
In second place was liberal candidate Haavisto, a member of the Green party who is running as an independent, with 25.7%. Haavisto is openly gay. In 2002, he entered in a registered partnership with Antonio Flores, an Ecuadorian man.
The result will push the race into a runoff on Feb. 11 between Stubb and Haavisto, because none of the candidates received more than half of the votes. To be declared president, the winning candidate must receive more than 50% of votes.
Remember that, after decades of neutrality and then military non-alignment, Finland decided swiftly after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 to become the 31st member of Nato.
Pekka Haavisto and his partner Antonio Flores today at polling station