Pro-EU Niinisto wins Finnish presidency: early tally

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 05, 2012 1:39 PM
Pro-EU Niinisto wins Finnish presidency: early tally

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Pro-Europe politician Sauli Niinisto won Finland's presidency, according to an early tally of Sunday's run-off election, showing voters want to keep the country in the euro zone despite their misgivings over European Union bailouts.

The former finance minister won the largely symbolic leadership post with about 66 percent support, defeating another pro-euro candidate, Pekka Haavisto of the Greens Party, an early count showed. The two had beaten anti-euro candidates in an earlier round.

As president, Niinisto will have little executive power beyond military and foreign affairs but potentially has influence over public opinion. A euro skeptic president may have put pressure on the government to take a harder stand against EU bailouts of debt-ridden member states.

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando and Terhi Kinnunen)