Independent presidential candidate and current president, Sauli Niinisto, is pictured during an election night rally in Helsinki, Finland, on January 28, 2018. (AFP / Lehtikuva / Jussi Nukari)
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Finland's pragmatic president Sauli Niinisto, whose skills at staving off tensions with the Nordic nation's powerful neighbor Russia have earned him popularity among voters, was poised to win another six-year term following voting Sunday.Preliminary results showed Niinisto ahead with more than 64 percent of votes, far ahead of the seven other candidates.Polling stations opened across the country at 0700 GMT and closed at 1800 GMT.During his first term, Niinisto diligently cultivated ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been at odds with the West, particularly since Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea.Niinisto is likely to avoid a second round of voting on February 11, a first since Finland introduced a two-round presidential election by popular vote in 1994 .
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