After attending school in Finland and then in the United States, Belgium and the United Kingdom, Staub entered politics in 2004 as a member of the European Parliament. He achieved great success in Finland in 2008 when – to his own surprise – he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Praised by his allies for his energetic approach to politics, he was also criticized during his time in government for his sometimes hasty statements, and was forced to apologize after being accused of swearing at a meeting of the Nordic Council, a regional cooperation body.
During a difficult year as prime minister in 2014, he failed to reverse the decline in the National Congress Party's popularity, and lost parliamentary elections in 2015 amid an economic recession. After a subsequent stint as finance minister, he left Finnish politics in 2017, vowing never to return.
Observers say that during the five-month presidential campaign, Stapp won voters' support by displaying a calmer, more thoughtful demeanor during debates than he was accustomed to, and doing his best to show respect for his rivals.
“However this election goes, it will be good for Finland,” he said in a debate with Haavisto earlier last week.
Stubb said he intends to be a unifying force in Finnish society, something the country appears to need after a series of racism scandals involving government ministers and, more recently, strikes over working conditions and wages that have paralyzed public services.
“Unapologetic tv specialist. Hardcore zombie trailblazer. Infuriatingly humble problem solver.”