HELSINKI (AP) — The Latest on the presidential election in Finland (all times local):
Finland’s incumbent president is barreling toward another six years in office with nearly 60 percent of ballots counted in the Nordic country’s election.
President Sauli Niinisto was winning with 63.8 percent of the votes cast Sunday. His closest rival, Pekka Haavisto of the Greens, had 10.9 percent.
None of the other six candidates had received more than 7 percent.
Niinisto needs a majority to prevent a runoff and to win re-election outright.
Haavisto has conceded Niinisto’s victory. He told Finnish national broadcaster YLE that Niinisto “is the republic’s new president with this result.”
Niinisto, a former finance minister and parliament speaker, has been a highly popular president since he took office in 2012.
He ran as an independent with no association to the conservative National Coalition Party that he earlier chaired.
Finns are casting ballots in a presidential election, with incumbent Sauli Niinisto considered the favorite to win the first round of voting in the Nordic nation.
Recent polls predict the 69-year-old Niinisto will get between 58 and 63 percent of the vote while his closest rival, Pekka Haavisto of the Greens, would garner some 14 percent.
If none of the eight candidates running Sunday achieves a majority, the top two will face each other in a Feb. 11 runoff. The post has a six-year term.
Niinisto, a former finance minister and parliament speaker, has been very popular since taking office in 2012. He is running as an independent with no association to the conservative National Coalition Party that he earlier chaired.