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Friday's papers: Hungary's Nato promise, train traffic resumes and TikTok's election influence

TikTok posts by Finns Party supporters appear to be resonating with younger and first-time voters, according to Helsingin Sanomat.

Ihmiset kävelevät rautatieaseman laiturilla.
The first train to leave a station, after a four-day strike hiatus, was on Friday morning at 3:40 am from Kajaani to Helsinki. Image: Jorge Gonzalez / Yle
Yle News

Multiple papers featured Nato news on Friday morning, including reports that Turkey's parliamentary foreign affairs committee has approved ratifying Finland's bid to join the alliance.

The next step is for the application to be voted on by Turkey's parliament, which may even happen before the weekend starts, Ilta-Sanomat wrote.

The approval comes after months of delays and negotiations, which also saw Sweden's application get stuck in the mud.

Tampere-based paper Aamulehti reported however that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has promised not to delay the ratification of Sweden's nor any other country's Nato bid.

Orban made the reported promise while discussing with Swedish PM Ulf Kristersson during Brussel's EU Summit on Thursday, according to the paper.

Back on track

Train engines across the country came back to life at around 4 am on Friday, newspaper Ilkka-Pohjalainen reported, following a four-day nationwide train drivers' strike.

Industrial action by railway worker union RAU, over pay and working conditions, saw train services come to an indefinite halt on Monday.

Employee and employer representatives announced they had reached a deal on Thursday with the help of the National Conciliators Office, and that the strike was ending.

Train traffic is still expected to be disrupted for a little while longer, however, with timetable changes, bus replacements and cancellations still likely over the next few days, the paper noted.

TikTok and the Finns Party

On Friday, newspaper Helsingin Sanomat (HS) asked: is the social media platform TikTok behind the Finns Party's popularity among young voters?

The Väinö Tanner foundation's research project Kupliiko pinnan alla (roughly translated to "what's bubbling under") may provide some answers, according to the paper. The foundation primarily focuses on supporting students in higher education in Finland.

Among the survey's findings was that young people's votes are more influenced by how party candidates discuss their policies rather than what those policies are. The survey also found that the left-right divide no longer felt relevant to 15-29-year-olds.

The nationalist and populist party was found to be the clear winner of a shadow parliamentary election organised by the Finnish National Youth Council Allianssi, receiving about 18 percent of support. HS also polled people eligible to vote for the first time in February, and found that some 28 percent would cast their first ballot for the Finns Party.

TikTok's fast pace and creative storytelling tools make it very popular among young people, and some politicians, including many Finns Party candidates, are now using the platform's effectiveness in conveying messages to their advantage. Some 32.5 percent of young TikTok users reported supporting the Finns Party, the research project found.

TikTok videos, according to HS, could play a major role in the outcome of this spring's parliamentary elections, and if not this spring, maybe in the near future.

Wonder who the candidates are or what is Finland voting for on 2 April? Check out the English-language version of Yle's election compass or our really simple guide to Finland's 2023 parliamentary elections.

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