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Finland Elects Alexander Stubb President as It Ushers in NATO Era

WorldFinland Elects Alexander Stubb President as It Ushers in NATO Era

Finns elected the center-right politician Alexander Stubb as their new president on Sunday, in the first national election since the country joined NATO, filling a post that will be critical to shaping Finland’s role in the alliance at a time of increasingly fraught relations with Russia.

The election might typically have gained little notice beyond the borders of the northern European country of 5.6 million people. But Finland, the newest member of NATO, shares the longest border with Russia — some 830 miles — and its politics have taken on special interest to its European and American allies as the geopolitical order shifts.

U.S. power is being challenged by Moscow and Beijing, and Europe is grappling with its largest land war since World War II. At the same time, the American commitment to aiding Ukraine looks increasingly in doubt, and an unpredictable American presidential election looms.

Finland has a parliamentary system of government, but its presidency is not a ceremonial role. The president is responsible for foreign policy, and the winner will play a pivotal role in steering the country through a changing world.

“What kind of a NATO country Finland is going to become is an open question at the moment,” said Jenni Karimaki, a political analyst at the University of Helsinki. “The new president is going to have a lot of say on that matter.”

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