This article was originally published in English
This inveterate athlete stands out for being pro-European, a supporter of marriage equality. In addition, he has been party leader, prime minister and foreign minister, as well as an MEP.
After two rounds of voting and a particularly close race, Finland has a new president. Alexander Stubb of the right-wing National Coalition Party (known locally as Kokoomus), defeated left-wing Green politician Pekka Haavisto in Sunday's vote.
Here are five things we know about the new president
1. Alex Stubb belongs to the liberal wing of his party: he is pro-European, supporter of marriage equality and declared internationalist. He has been leader of the party, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as an MEP in Brussels. She speaks Finnish, Swedish, English, French and German fluently. Inveterate athlete -Stubb went to university in the United States on a golf scholarship- hopefully there will be no shortage of photos of the new Finnish president in tight lycra sportswear competing in iron man events or skiing, although he may have less time to those activities once installed in the presidential palace in Helsinki.
2. Stubb says he wants to be a president capable of unifying the country. It is no small feat when his party, Kokoomus, leads the coalition government with the Finnish far-right, and when controversial celebrities with homophobic messages, and politicians with convictions for crimes related to racism, came out in support of him during the presidential election campaign. . According to a recent Finnish study, 40% of Stubb's supporters would not vote for his rival Haavisto because he is gay; while another survey revealed that 30% of Finnish voters took a candidate's sexuality into account when voting. That's a lot to unify.
3. Alex Stubb has never been shy when it comes to using social media and is known for his penchant for taking selfies with his followers, especially with famous people. “For me, social media has always been a spontaneous channel of communication,” Stubb wrote on X, formerly Twitter, in October 2021. “I manage my own account. I am aware of the risks. I have been burned many times.” He said it is **better to use social media to communicate, despite the risks, than not to communicate at all.** A 2018 tweet from Stubb with his “old friend and colleague” Sergei Lavrov has not aged well, and has apologized for saying that people who wanted to block Russian investment in a Finnish nuclear power plant were “Russophobes.”
4. Stubb will have to remain humble. One of the criticisms it has received repeatedly in the past is that it has a arrogant and entitled attitude. This attitude has been greatly toned down during the campaign, in which he has made an effort to appear restrained and cordial with his opponents, but he has to maintain it for at least six years in office (at this point many political observers doubt that he will run to a second term).
5. Stubb has a lot of work ahead to succeed President Sauli Niinistö, which has enjoyed very high approval ratings from Finnish public opinion in the last two terms (12 years). There is no doubt that Stubb has been attracted by the renewed importance of the Finnish presidency following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Finland's NATO accession negotiations. That may be true, but there are also a lot of very mundane presidential duties that Stubb will have to fulfill away from the spotlight, and he has to show that he is just as interested in having an afternoon coffee with the pensioners or in visiting a factory and a military garrison that jumps onto the world stage smiling its characteristic smile at the television cameras.
At a meeting of Nordic foreign ministers in Denmark in 2011, he famously commented at an open microphone that the meeting was “bullshit”, while the deputy of the delegation reprimanded him, saying that “with his body language and his words , our minister reported that Nordic affairs are not high on his agenda.” Alex Stubb tHe will have to face the monotonous and boring with as much enthusiasm as the international media attention he enjoys so much..