Finland President Begins Second Term In Office

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto on Thursday swore the oath of office for a second term after his landslide win at the weekend when he secured a 62.6 per cent vote on Sunday.

He is said to be the first president to achieve a first-round win since the current voting system was introduced 1994.

The inauguration ceremony was held in parliament where speaker Maria Lohela congratulated Niinisto, a 69-year-old former finance minister and ex-leader of the conservatives.

Almost 4.5 million voters were eligible to elect the president, a largely ceremonial post following changes to the constitutions that were adopted in 1999.

The head of state still has a say on foreign policy.

Niinisto said he was honoured to be re-elected; he touched on his first six years in office, saying the international climate had been “turbulent” with “conflicts both in Europe, its surroundings, and the world over.”

In addition to securing Finland’s own defense capability, Niinisto said it was therefore important to strengthen the United Nations and the European Union,” as well as promoting dialogue between east and west.

In office, he has met the presidents of China, Russia, and the United States.

“Mitigating climate change will be the most important issue in the next few years,’’ Niinisto said.

After the inauguration, the president inspected a guard of honour outside parliament amid heavy snowfall before the short drive to the presidential palace in central Helsinki.

There he and his wife, Jenni Haukio, briefly waved from a balcony.

Niinisto was later congratulated by foreign diplomats and Prime Minister Juha Sipila.


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