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Friday's papers: Turkey's approval, Finns Party u-turn and a windy weekend

Turkey's approval of Finland's Nato bid has put an end to months of delays and negotiations.

Vaalimainoksia Turussa.
Finns will be voting in sunny, yet crisp weather conditions on Sunday. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle
Yle News

Turkey's long-awaited ratification of Finland's Nato application led the news agenda on Friday morning.

Tabloid Ilta-Sanomat wrote that the Turkish parliament unanimously approved Finland's membership of Nato by a tally of 276-0, five minutes before midnight on Thursday night.

Turkey was the last remaining Nato member yet to ratify Finland's bid to join the alliance.

"All 30 NATO members have now ratified Finland's membership. I want to thank every one of them for their trust and support. Finland will be a strong and capable Ally, committed to the security of the Alliance," President Sauli Niinistö wrote on Twitter.

Both the President and Prime Minister Sanna Marin also mentioned their support for Sweden in their celebratory tweets, Tampere-based Aamulehti reported.

"Finland stands with Sweden now and in the future and supports its application," Marin said in her tweet.

Finland will become a fully-fledged member of the alliance the moment the ratification documents arrive at the US State Department. This could happen in a matter of hours, Aamulehti noted, adding however that signing the North Atlantic Treaty into Finnish law would likely take a bit longer.

Finns Party turns its back on unions

Helsingin Sanomat (HS) reported on the reaction to the Finns party's evolving policy on transferring social payments from employees to employers.

The idea promoted by the labour movement is that the payments, which equate to two percent of salaries before tax, would be paid by employers rather than employees. They had been shifted from employers to employees by the Juha Sipilä government in 2016 as part of a so-called "competitiveness pact" signed with labour market leaders.

Finns Party leader Riikka Purra said during an election debate organised by TV channel MTV on Wednesday that the Finns were not in favour of returning social security fees transferred to workers in the 2016 competitiveness pact back to employers.

The party had previously told The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) in February that it supported transferring that social security fee responsibility back to employers. SAK called Purra's change in direction a "betrayal," according to the paper.

A party worker who used to work for trade unions, Matti Putkonen, told news agency STT that he was the one to answer the union survey in February, not the party's political leadership. Putkonen is also a candidate in the elections.

Unions were particularly enraged that the real Finns Party policy only emerged after the end of advance voting, which was also mentioned by Green leader Maria Ohisalo during Yle's leader election debate on Thursday.

"Quite the turnaround now that 40 percent of the votes have been cast," Ohisalo said of the change.

Wintry sunshine

People queuing up to vote on Sunday may want to wear an additional layer of clothing, despite the sunshine, according to Iltalehti's weekend forecast.

Saturday and Sunday will see sunny yet windy weather as chilly gusts of winds are expected over southern and central Finland. Daytime highs will hover just above zero in most of the country, except for the north.

"So apart from a cold northerly wind, the weather on election day will be quite nice," Foreca meteorologist Joonas Koskela said.

Forecasters expect some snow flurries in certain parts of the country, however, especially in Lapland.

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