HELSINKI, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Alexander Stubb, the incumbent Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade of Finland, was elected party chair by the delegates of the Finnish National Coalition Party (NCP) on Saturday.
The election will put him on track to succeed as the new prime minister after incumbent Jyrki Katainen steps down later this month.
Katainen announced on April 6 that he would resign as the Chair of the NCP and head of the government in June.
He also expressed his interest in seeking new career in the European Commission and will succeed Olli Rehn to become the next commissioner of Finland.
Katainen is likely to be in the next European Commission as early as in July 1, and is a possible compromise candidate to be the president of the commission.
NCP, the biggest ruling party of Finland, therefore had to elect its new chair, who will take the post as the new prime minister.
Nearly 900 delegates participated in the NCP's congress held on Saturday to elect Katainen's successor from three candidates: Minister of Economic Affairs Jan Vapaavuori; Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb, and Minister of Health and Social Services Paula Risikko.
In the first round of voting, Vapaavuori was out of the election. Since none of the candidates received more than half of the votes in the first round, a second one was needed.
In the second round, Stubb won 500 of 846 votes, and elected the party chair. He will assume office later in June, and will take care of the government until the next general election due in 2015.
Born in 1968 in Helsinki, Stubb gained a PhD degree from the London School of Economics in 1999.
From 2004 to 2008, he was a member of the European Parliament with the European People's Party (EPP).
From April 2008 to June 2011, Stubb was Minister of Foreign Affairs. Since June 2011, Stubb has been the Minister for Europe and Foreign Trade in Katainen's cabinet.
Last month, as a NCP MP, Stubb topped the European Parliament election in Finland.