Sauli Niinistö wins Finland presidential race

Sauli Niinistö has been elected Finland’s 12th president, with the landslide win by the National Coalition Party marking an end to 30 years of the Social Democrats’ rein.

Sunday’s election saw Niinistö claim 62.6 percent of the vote, leaving him streets ahead of his rival Pekka Haavisto, who secured 37.4 for the Green League.

Niinistö won a majority in all but one of the 15 electoral districts, with Haavisto only winning Åland with a 60-40 split in his favour. Niinistö’s largest lead was in Vaasa (72.3 percent), while the closest battle was in the capital where he scraped a majority of just 50.3 percent.

Haavisto conceded defeat after 80 percent of the votes had been counted, but said he was satisfied with his campaign. “From the summer’s five percent it is a good rise. Over a million people gave me their backing,” he said, according to YLE.

With a voter turnout of just 68.9 percent, it was the lowest for a presidential election in Finland since 1950. Although 36 percent of voters cast advanced ballots, the relatively poor turnout is thought to be due to the bitterly cold weather sweeping the country and Europe as a whole.