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Poll: One-third would back Finland's Nato membership on President's say-so

A media survey shows that voters from the Swedish People's Party were most eager to join the military alliance.

Suomalaissotilas yhteisharjoituksessa heinäkuussa 2015 Ravlundassa, Ruotsissa.
A Finnish Marine participates in Nato exercises in Sweden in 2015. Image: AOP
Yle News

A new poll by Lännen Media suggests that a third of Finns would support Finland’s membership in Nato if President Sauli Niinistö endorsed it.

Supporters of the Swedish People’s Party – 72 percent of them – were the most positive about Finland joining the US-led military alliance, together with Blue Reform and National Coalition Party voters.

In contrast, only 30 percent of Finns Party supporters said they would endorse an application to the 29-member bloc.

Half still opposed to membership

Half of those polled said they would not warm to Nato even if Niinistö argued that membership would be in Finland’s best interest, the survey showed.

Previously, support for Nato has hovered around 20 percent.

”Even though Niinistö is a popular president, it does not mean that Finns cannot disagree with him on specific subject matters,” says Teija Tiilikainen from the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.

Last week, the US online news service Buzzfeed reported it had obtained an intercepted cable from the US State Department, where Finland was said to be subject to Russian media attacks aiming "to create distrust between leaders and citizens and raise suspicions about joining NATO."

At the end of July, Russia's defence minister Sergei Shoigu said Finland's membership in Nato could force Russia to take counter-measures.

The poll of 1,007 people was undertaken by Taloustutkimus in June and July. The survey has a margin of error of +/-3 percent.

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