May 28, 2022
Sauli Väinämö Niinistö (born 24 August 1948 in Salo) is a Finnish politician with a Coalition background and the 12th President of the Republic of Finland. He took office on March 1, 2012, and was re-elected president in 2018. Niinistö, who worked as a lawyer, served in the Salo City Council from 1977 to 1992, as a Member of Parliament from 1987 to 2003 and 2007 to 2011, and as the Chairman of the National Coalition Party from 1994 to 2001. He was on Paavo Lipponen's first and second governments, first as Minister of Justice in 1995-1996 and then as Minister of Finance in 1996–2003. In the latter position, Niinistö was known for his strict financial discipline and work on the savings and cuts that followed the recession of the 1990s. During Niinistö's ministerial terms, Finland became a member of the European Economic and Monetary Union and the euro was introduced. Following his ministerial career, he became Deputy Governor of the European Investment Bank for the period 2003-2007. In 2007–2011, Niinistö was the Speaker of Parliament. During his political career, Niinistö has enjoyed widespread popularity across party lines. Niinistö was the Coalition Party's presidential candidate in the 2006 presidential election and again in the 2012 election, when he was elected president of the republic in the second round. He became the first Coalition President since Juho Kusti Paasikivi. In the 2018 election, Niinistö was nominated through an electoral association and won the election in the first round with more than 60 percent of the vote. In this way, he also became the first President of the Republic of Finland to be elected by direct universal suffrage in his first round. Russia's invasion of Ukraine led to a change in Finland's security environment in 2022. In May 2022, President Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced that the Finnish leadership had decided that Finland should apply for NATO membership.