Finland's cautious president Niinisto poised for re-election

2018-01-28 12:46
President of Finland Sauli Niinisto campaigns in a shopping centre in Kouvola. (Jussi Nukari, Lehtikuva via AP)

President of Finland Sauli Niinisto campaigns in a shopping centre in Kouvola. (Jussi Nukari, Lehtikuva via AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Helsinki - Finns have voted with expectations that president Sauli Niinisto will be re-elected - credited for maintaining a balanced relationship with powerful neighbour Russia at a time of simmering tensions between Moscow and the West.

Polling stations opened at 07:00 GMT, and are set to close at 18:00 GMT on Sunday.

Niinisto has already cast his vote along with more than 36% of Finland's 3.5 million registered voters.

The latest opinion polls credited Niinisto with between 51% and 63% of votes, having lost ground but still far ahead of the seven other candidates.

His main rival, Pekka Haavisto of the Green party, was seen garnering around 13% - 14% support.

Niinisto needs at least 50% of votes to win the first round of Sunday's presidential vote to be re-elected for another six-year term and avoid a second round of voting on February 11.

If he succeeds, it would be a first since Finland introduced a two-round presidential election by popular vote in 1994.

"It has become less clear whether he will win in the first round but everything indicates that in the end he will be re-elected as president," said Teivo Teivainen, professor of global politics at the University of Helsinki.

Finland's most popular president in more than three decades, the 69-year-old who campaigned as an independent has skilfully shifted the EU member state closer to NATO without antagonising Russia, with whom the Nordic country shares the longest border in the bloc.

During his first term, Niinisto has meticulously cultivated ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been at odds with the West particularly since Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    finland

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.