Pro-Europe Candidates to Meet in Presidential Runoff in Finland

Posted January 22nd, 2012 at 5:35 pm (UTC-5)
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Two pro-European candidates will meet in a presidential runoff election in Finland.

Conservative former finance minister Sauli Niinistoe won 37 percent of the vote in Sunday's first round, followed by Green Party candidate Pekka Haavisto with 19 percent. Six other candidates finished far behind. No one won enough votes to avoid a second round on February 5.

Both Niinistoe and Haavisto support continued Finnish cooperation with the European Union, while many in parliament demand that wealthy Finland stop supporting EU economic bailouts for troubled members.

The presidency in Finland is a largely ceremonial position, with the prime minister running the country's daily affairs.

The new president will replace Tarja Halonen, who is completing her second six-year term, and is not allowed to run again.