Finland's President Niinistö: solid as a rock?
Finland's President Sauli Niinistö will remain in office for another six years. The 69-year old conservative who ran as an independent candidate won an absolute majority of 63 percent in the first round of voting. Considered the most popular Finnish president in recent decades, he has what it takes to make things happen in foreign policy and elsewhere, according to the journalists.
Work to be done in foreign policy
Turun Sanomat sees Niinistö facing a special challenge in foreign policy:
“In times when governments are run by prime ministers with little experience, the president has always been able to exercise the full weight of his authority. In Russian-Finnish relations, Finland can only react to Russia's actions. During this next term the country's policy will focus mainly on what Moscow does in Eastern Ukraine, the attitude it takes to implementing the Minsk Protocol and how Russia's policies affect the Baltic Region. Furthermore Finland must react to developments in the relations between the US, Russia and China. There is no shortage of potential diplomatic and trade conflicts between the three major powers.”
Head of state on a grand mission
ERR columnist Rain Kooli sees Finland's re-elected president as a peacemaker between East and West:
“He wants to be the ball bearing that prevents the global machinery from falling apart. Sure, you can laugh at such ambitions, but you show me another president of a small European country who's met with the Russian, US and Chinese presidents all in the past year. ... And who seemed to be almost their equal. ... Niinistö, who is considered an experienced, balanced and reassuring politician, is well-suited to these times of heated debate reminiscent of the Cold War.”