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Wednesday's papers: Ex-Finns Party MPs, Kela benefits change, Posti electronics theft

Finns Party defectors get left behind, Kela changes its basis for benefits and postal workers steal 60K euros in electronics.

Veera Ruoho
Veera Ruoho is one of the ex-Finns Party MPs who did not secure a further career in parliament this time. Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

Former Finns Party members who defected to other parties in 2017 did not fare well in Sunday's parliamentary elections, writes tabloid Iltalehti.

A group of defectors founded the Blue Reform group in summer 2017 to distance themselves from hard-right Finns Party chair Jussi Halla-aho. Their efforts were in vain, however, as nobody from Blue Reform managed to secure a seat in parliament on Sunday.

While some MPs such as Veera Ruoho jumped straight to the conservative National Coalition Party (NCP), long-term politician Kaj Turunen went a different route, as IL notes: he first defected from the Finns Party to Blue Reform (then called "New Alternative"), from whence he defected once more to the NCP, only to be ejected from parliament altogether.

Turunen's support figures fell substantially since the previous parliamentary elections. In 2015 he received 6,929 votes, but on Sunday only 545 people voted for him.

Ruoho said in IL that while she is grateful for the support she did receive (1,487 votes, more than a thousand fewer than in 2015) her time in the legislature was overshadowed by a harassment case. In 2017 Finns Party MP Teuvo Hakkarainen was convicted of assault and sexual harassment against Ruoho and ordered to pay 80 day fines. Ruoho received hate mail after the incident, Iltalehti writes.

Ruoho said she will return to her profession as a police officer, calling her low support numbers "a blessing for my family".

Rehabilitation, parental benefits to change

Meanwhile regional daily Aamulehti reports that Finnish national pension institution Kela will change the way rehabilitation allowances, parental allowances and sickness benefits are determined.

Previously Kela calculated the sums based on each recipient's annual income from the full previous calendar year's tax returns. Starting in 2020, the amount of benefits will be based on the recipient's income from the previous 12 months preceding the benefit decision, even mid-year.

Kela said this method would bring allowances more in line with people's actual income levels, AL writes.

Thieves caught by hidden tracker

Daily Helsingin Sanomat writes that two men in Vantaa were found guilty of aggravated theft on Tuesday after they systematically stole electronics from postal shipments in 2015 and 2016.

The men, born in 1983 and 1969 and working for an outside logistics company, got away with 60,000 euros in phones and tablets while working at the primary Posti hub, HS writes.

The duo was caught after a GPS tracking device in one of the shipments raised the postal service's suspicions. HS reports that video surveillance footage of the men improperly loading packages for their own purposes finally landed both men one year's probation each.

Both workers appealed to have their sentences commuted, but the Helsinki Court of Appeal found no reason to change the original ruling.

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