The finns This Sunday they elect their president, a position whose importance has grown since the country entered the NATO before the tensions with his neighbor Russia for the war in Ukraine.
The electoral colleges of this northern European country, which shares 1,340 km of borders with Russiathey opened at 09:00 (07:00 GMT) and will close at 20:00 (18:00 GMT).
Nearly 4.3 million voters They will have to choose between the former conservative prime minister, Alexander Stubb, and the former head of diplomacy, Pekka Haavisto.
Stubb won the first round of the election on January 28 with 27.2 percent of the vote, ahead of Haavisto, who obtained 25.8 percent and is running as an independent candidate despite being a member of the Green party.
The head of state, with fewer powers than the prime minister, is elected for a six-year term and directs the country’s foreign policy in close collaboration with the government. He is also supreme commander of the Armed Forces.
Its role has grown in importance since the war in Ukraine and Finland’s entry into NATO.to which Russia promised to respond with “countermeasures.”
The Nordic country remained neutral during the Cold War and has been a faithful defender of dialogue between Western countries and Russia.
But after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the country ended three decades of military non-alignment.
In August, Finland accused Moscow of orchestrating a migrant crisis on its borders. As a result, he decided to close his border with Russia in November, a move supported by both candidates.
“The fact that we have just joined the NATO is of considerable importance,” analyzes Theodora Helimaki, a political science researcher at the University of Helsinki.
The new president, he notes, will be “largely” responsible for the way the alliance will be deployed in the country.
A poll conducted Thursday by public television Yle gave Stubb 54 percent of the vote, compared to 46 percent for Haavisto.
Both candidates served as former ministers of External relationships and They share the same vision about the position to adopt towards Russia.
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The difference between the two, however, lies in nuances, according to researcher Theodora Helimäki, who cites the issue of storage and transport of nuclear weapons in Finland.
While Haavisto does not want to authorize them, Stubb believes that the country should not exclude “any part” of the alliance’s nuclear deterrence policy.