LAHTI, Finland - Finland's ruling conservative party elected EU affairs minister Alexander Stubb as its new leader on Saturday, putting him on track to take over as the country's prime minister after incumbent Jyrki Katainen steps down later this month.
Stubb, 46, won about 60 per cent of delegates' votes at a congress of their centre-right National Coalition party, beating Paula Risikko, the minister for health and social services, in a run-off.
The result means Stubb will lead the strongly pro-European National Coalition, the largest party in Finland's five-party governing coalition, into a general election due in April 2015.
Stubb, who is also currently trade minister and is especially popular among younger voters, wants neutral Finland to join NATO in the coming years. Finland shares a 1,340-km border with Russia, which strongly opposes NATO enlargement.