Xinhua News Agency
June 14, 2014
By Juhani Niinisto
HELSINKI: The delegates of a traditional conservative party of Finland on Saturday elected a value liberal and supporter of Finnish membership in NATO as its chairman.
Alexander Stubb, aged 46, succeeds Jyrki Katainen as the chairman of the ruling National Coalition Party, and will take Katainen's post as the prime minister later this month.
Addressing the party assembly before the vote on Saturday Stubb said that, if elected, he would have to convince both the "nation's leadership" and the people about the NATO issue.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto had made outspoken caution towards ideas of a Finnish membership in NATO and public support level of a membership was at 22 percent in April.
Commenting to Xinhua, Timo Soikkanen, professor of political history at Turku University, said that Stubb will probably be the most pro-Western prime minister of Finland since World War Two.
Soikkanen said the pro-NATO attitude within the Finnish elite has been evident since the start of the Ukraine crisis.