Stubb received more votes than expected but lost to his rival candidate by a clear vote of 127 to 492 at EPP Congress Helsinki on Thursday.
“I got a very good feeling [from the campaign], I must admit,” the former prime minister admitted to reporters after the leadership election. “I really did think two years ago that politics is completely behind me. National politics still is, but it felt good getting back to the European arena because so many people reacted so strongly and positively to my defence of values.”
Stubb promptly clarified that he is contemplating neither running in nor seeking a senior post at the European Commission after the elections to the European Parliament on 23–26 May 2019.
“Right now the only thing I’m considering seriously is getting back home and opening a bottle of red,” he retorted. “We’ll now head back to work. This was a five-week effort.”