Source link : https://love-europe.com/2024/07/02/finland/finland-firm-in-its-position-against-russia-as-presidential-election-looms/


As Finland’s citizens prepare to vote on Sunday in a presidential election runoff between Finland’s former Prime Minister Alexander Stubb and ex-Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, they are faced with an election that is widely seen as historically the most important amid Finland’s recent NATO membership and Nordic country’s strong stance against Russia.

Stubb has emerged the winner in the first round securing 27.2% support while Haavisto stood at 25.8%, but as no-one obtained more than 50%, a runoff vote will be held Sunday.

The Nordic country is electing a new president to lead the nation in its new role after Finland became the 31st member of NATO last April, ending decades of military non-alignment as the result of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

The new president will replace incumbent Sauli Niinisto, known for his role in maintaining close ties with Russia and who is forced to step down after two six-year terms in office.

Finland’s president usually takes the lead on foreign and security policy while still maintaining a close collaboration with the government and is acting as commander-in-chief of the Finnish Defense Forces.

The newly elected president is now also expected to represent the country at NATO meetings.

The Nordic country’s NATO membership drew military threats from Kremlin with Russian President Vladimir Putin accusing the west of “dragging” Finland into military alliance and creating rift between Moscow and Helsinki.

In December, Finland closed its border with Russia, with the Finnish authorities accusing Moscow of carrying out a suspected “hybrid attack” and purposefully assisting undocumented migrants in crossing into the Nordic country, which Russia denied.

More of the same

The center-right candidate Stubb of Finland’s National Coalition Party and liberal Green Party member Haavisto both agree on Finland’s firm policy against Moscow, deepening security ties with the US and supporting Ukraine militarily and financially.

However, the two candidates differ regarding the transportation of NATO’s nuclear weapons across Finnish land with Stubb showing signs of wanting to fully integrate within the alliance, allowing the weapons pass through the country.

Haavisto suggested that the president should be obliged to provide the parliament with information on NATO matters while Stubb somewhat disagreed, according to local media.

Both candidates agreed that Finland needs to criticize Israel’s actions in Gaza more harshly, a Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat reported.

Stubb and Haavisto show clear differences in terms of general conscription and whether it is better to raise taxes or cut services and benefits, said the daily.

Niinisto’s ‘super skills’

The next Finnish president no longer needs Niinisto’s “super skills” when it comes to dealing with Kremlin as his term “ended spiritually” when Russia attacked Ukraine, said Kari Huhta, a journalist specializing in security policy, according to Helsingin Sanomat.

Huhta said Niinisto knew “how to play the game” with the Russian leaders with some of the cards always remaining hidden while managing to maintain the poker face of tough international politics and a strategic mind.

Finns are expecting this kind of skill from the next president as well, while this may not be needed in the same way, according to Huhta.

Niinisto’s way of working with Moscow can be described in terms of international politics as a so-called strategic ambiguity often practiced in international politics especially by the great powers, he added.

The importance of good relations and dialogue between the two nations was publicly encouraged for decades until Russia decided to launch a military attack on Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, and now everything seems to have changed in terms of Finnish foreign policy, he also said.

Mika Aaltola, a Finnish political scientist, and director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, who is also running as an independent candidate for the president of Finland described Niinisto’s skill as the president’s “unreliability,” in an interview with Helsingin Sanomat.

“In the former world, being untrustworthy was one of the most important skills of a Finnish president. But now the new president no longer needs the same. Finland’s next president does not necessarily have to be a cunning ring fox,” he said, adding that a strategic clarity is expected from the future president of Finland.

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Source link : https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/finland-firm-in-its-position-against-russia-as-presidential-election-looms/3133546

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Publish date : 2024-02-10 08:00:00

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Author : love-europe

Publish date : 2024-07-02 07:50:45

Copyright for syndicated content belongs to the linked Source.