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Tuesday's papers: Kiemunki lives on, pensioner bonus, misleading illustrations and gay marriage anticipation

Tuesday's papers include stories on a Tampere populist's battle to stay in the Finns Party, a great deal for pensioners, misleading architects' drawings and a preview of the gay marriages set to take place on Wednesday, when same-sex unions become legal in Finland.

Terhi Kiemunki
Terhi Kiemunki Image: Kalle Parkkinen / Lehtikuva

Terhi Kiemunki, the doyenne of Tampere's Finns Party, has a decent claim to being the highest-profile Finnish politician who's never been elected to parliament. That's mostly based on continuously controversial and offensive statements, but it remains something of an achievement.

She was finally expelled from the party on Sunday in a scandal over expenses. She had apparently claimed the same money twice, and that was the straw that broke the camel's back after a conviction for incitement to ethnic hatred last year.

That decision by the party board was not popular at grassroots level. The local Tampere chapter supports Kiemunki and, reports Aamulehti and Ilta-Sanomat on Tuesday, they retain the now-non-affiliated Kiemunki as the chair of the city's Finns Party branch.

That's against the chapter's own rules, reports AL. Those rules clearly state that the chair must be a member of the Finns Party. Changing the rules this quickly, says AL, is not possible. In a statement the local party said that "we are concentrating only on winning the election, and we hope other Finns Party people would co-operate in ensuring a Finns Party win nationwide."

Ilta-Sanomat reports that Kiemunki could still be a candidate on the Finns Party list in the local elections--she'd just have to have 'independent' written in brackets after her name. In all other respects, though, it is difficult to see the effect of the national party's decision to expel her.

Pensioners' bonus

Aamulehti has a detailed analysis of a pension reform that recently came into effect in Finland. The deal is that people can take half their pension early, after their sixty first birthday, in return for a permanent reduction in the value of the total monthly payment.

It has been a popular reform, with many mature Finnish residents cashing in. AL's analysis shows why: it's a fantastic deal for most people, but especially those in highly-paid work.

The paper reckons that somebody earning 5,000 euros per month could take 50 percent of their pension, go part-time and work three days a week and see their net monthly income drop by only 17.50 euros.

It's less of a good deal for those earning 2,500 euros--they would lose some 137.50 euros per month, while those on 3,500 euros per month would see their net income fall by 173.25 euros per month. The reason for the discrepancy is the effect of taxation--higher-income workers have a high marginal taxation on income from work, but pensions are treated differently.

Architects' sketches under scrutiny

Now, have you ever wondered at the glistening, shiny, beautiful structures that are planned for construction? And then compared them to the concrete hulks eventually erected?

Jukka Lindgren has, and he finally decided to do something about it. Helsingin Sanomat reports that Lindgren's curiosity was piqued and he went to look at the city of Helsinki's sketches. Zooming in, he discovered that the planned Tripla development in Pasila consists of structures made entirely of glass. No supporting walls, no concrete, no people, not even any office furniture inside the buildings.

He made more realistic drawings, based on the surrounding structures and all the things that large business premises and apartment blocks tend to contain. It's a much greyer--but, according to Lindgren, much more realistic--picture.

He says he's doing a service for democracy. Local politicians need the best information on possible new projects, and they can be overly influenced by sunny, happy, shiny and unrealistic sketches.

Gay marriage buildup

Aamulehti carries buildup to tomorrow, which is the first day on which same-sex couples can get married in Finland. The paper reports that 32 same-sex couples have registered to get married this week nationwide, mostly in southern Finland

There are some places in eastern and northern Finland where no gay couples have yet booked a wedding. No couples have asked for a 'midnight wedding', which would almost guarantee their being the first gay marriage to be made official in Finland.

In 2015 there were some 5,800 people living in registered partnerships in Finland, the last country in the Nordic countries to allow gay marriage.

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