Finns set to re-elect Niinisto to ease Russian Federation concerns

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According to the Finnish state broadcasting YLE, Niinisto of the National Coalition Party will serve his second term for six years, until 2024.

Finland's pragmatic president Sauli Niinisto, whose skills at staving off tensions with the Nordic nation's powerful neighbor Russian Federation have earned him popularity among voters, was poised to win another six-year term following voting Sunday.

But the closest competition for President Niinisto came from Pekka Haavisto, a gay, left-wing Green who reached a second round against Mr. Niinisto in 2012 - a campaign that enchanted liberal-minded celebrities and electrified younger voters, especially in Helsinki.

Niinisto received 62.7 percent of the vote on Sunday, with seven other candidates receiving the remaining 37 percent.

Niinisto needs a majority to prevent a runoff and to win re-election outright. He is the first candidate to do since the popular vote was adopted to pick Finland's president in 1994.

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Niinisto, 69, a former finance minister and parliament speaker, has been a highly popular president since he took office in 2012.

In these elections, Niinisto ran as an independent with no association to the NCP that he earlier chaired.

The president is in charge of foreign and defence policy together with the government, but otherwise the post has become largely ceremonial in the past few decades. Yet while the president remains active in foreign policy, including holding the chairmanship of the Arctic Council since May 2017, presidential power over domestic policy has ebbed steadily since the final throes of the Cold War.

The president also acts as the supreme commander of military forces and can veto legislation.

It has developed closer ties with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation but has not joined the alliance as it attempts to avoid antagonizing Moscow.