EU Commissioner Urpilainen Joins Race to Be Finland’s President

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(Bloomberg) -- Finland’s representative on the European Commission, Jutta Urpilainen, plans to enter the race to become president of the Nordic country.

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Urpilainen, who oversees international partnerships in the European Union’s executive body, said in a speech on Sunday that she’s ready to run in the Jan. 28 election. The Social Democratic Party is set to formally appoint her as its candidate on Dec. 2, according to an emailed statement.

Other notable candidates include central bank Governor Olli Rehn, former Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, and former Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto.

Haavisto reached the second round of voting in 2012 and 2018, falling both times to Sauli Niinisto, who is prevented by the constitution from running for a third six-year term.

Urpilainen, 48, is the first woman to represent Finland in the European Commission, and was the country’s first female finance minister. Tarja Halonen was the first woman to serve as Finland’s president, from 2000 to 2012.

The president’s greatest power in Finland lies in steering foreign policy in cooperation with the government. Niinisto made full use of that leverage to help steer his nation into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization following Russia’s full-scale war in Ukraine in 2022. Finland’s border with Russia, at 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) doubled NATO’s eastern flank.

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