Two pro-European candidates will face-off in the second round of the Finnish presidential election in two weeks’ time, quelling fears of the political establishment that the next stage would become an informal referendum on Europe. Sauli Niinistö, a pro-European former finance minister from the ruling National Coalition party, won 37 per cent of the vote on Sunday, as was widely expected. He is now the most likely candidate to become Finland’s 12th president since independence from Russia in 1917. Many in the pro-European coalition government had feared that Mr Niinistö could end up in a run-off against the eurosceptic Paavo Väyrynen from the Centre party, turning the second round into a straight fight between the county’s pro- and anti-Europe camps.Full Article: Pro-Europeans to face-off in Finnish poll - FT.com.
Jan 24 2012