HELSINKI, Finland, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Voters in Finland Sunday sent Sauli Niinisto to a resounding victory over Pekka Haavisto, making him the country's 12th president, election results showed.
With all votes counted, the 63-year-old Niinisto, a former parliamentary speaker and finance minister, had garnered 62.6 percent of the vote to 37.4 percent for Haavisto, the Green Party candidate, Helsingin Sanomat reported.
Niinisto is the first non-Social Democrat to win in Finland since 1982 and the first member of his National Coalition Party to win since 1956.
Turnout for the election was about 69 percent, the lowest in a presidential race since 1950, the newspaper said.
Niinisto will replace President Tarja Halonen, who was constitutionally limited to two terms, CNN reported.
While she was Finland's first female president, this race for the first time pitted an openly gay candidate, Haavisto, against the conservative Niinisto, who ushered Finland into the European Union and use of the euro.
Haavisto's openness about being gay figured prominently in national media in the final weeks of the campaign, CNN said. His political history includes a stint as environment and development minister.
Political analyst Olavi Borg said the sexual orientation of Haavisto, who drew his support from a core of young and liberal voters, was a factor in the voting, the Finnish public broadcasting company YLE reported.
"The older generation simply isn't ready for it," Borg said after the race.
Niinisto, who also served as deputy chairman of the European Investment Bank, had won the preliminary round Jan. 28 with almost 37 percent of the vote. Haavisto, 53, got 18.8 percent.
Both candidates for the largely ceremonial presidency favor maintaining membership in the European Union, and the election was seen by observers as a signal Finland will participate constructively in solving Europe's debt problems, YLE said.
The True Finns party, skeptical of a future in a united Europe, made significant gains in last year's parliamentary elections.