Five things to know about Finland’s new ‘selfie’ president Alex Stubb
After two rounds of voting and a particularly tight race, Finland has a new president.
Alexander Stubb from the right-wing National Coalition Party (known locally as Kokoomus) beat left-wing Green politician Pekka Haavisto in Sunday’s ballot.
Here are five things we know about the Nordic nation’s new president:
1. Alex Stubb is from the liberal wing of his party: he’s pro-Europe, pro-marriage equality and avowedly internationalist. He’s served previously as party leader, prime minister and foreign minister, as well as having been an MEP in Brussels. He speaks Finnish, Swedish, English, French and German fluently. A keen sportsman - Stubb went to university in America on a golf scholarship - expect to see no shortage of pictures of the new Finnish president in tight lycra sportswear competing in iron man competitions or skiing, although he may have less time for those activities once he’s installed in the presidential palace in Helsinki.
2. Stubb says he wants to be a president who can unify the country. That’s no small order when his party Kokoomus runs the coalition government with the far-right Finns, and when contentious celebrities with homophobic posts, and politicians with convictions for racism-related offences, came out in support of him during the presidential election campaign. One recent Finnish study found 40% of Stubb’s supporters wouldn’t vote for his rival Haavisto because he is a gay man; while another survey found 30% of Finnish voters said they considered a candidate’s sexuality when casting a ballot. That’s a lot of unifying to be done.
3. Alex Stubb has never been shy about using social media and is known for his love of selfies with supporters - especially the celebrity kind. “For me social media has