Finnish parliament votes to apply for NATO membership
Finnish MPs on Tuesday voted to apply for NATO membership after a 14-hour debate, Finnish national broadcaster Yle reported.
There were 188 votes in favor and eight against. Three MPs abstained. The vote took place after a Left Alliance MP tabled a counter-motion, arguing that Finland should remain militarily non-aligned.
Parliament's approval means that the president and government can now put the official application process into motion.
Sweden's prime minister also signed the country's official application today. It is thought both countries will apply at the same time.
Speaker of the Riigikogu Jüri Ratas (Center) was on a visit to Finland on Tuesday and witnessed the vote.
"Estonia is a firm supporter of both Finland and Sweden joining NATO. We are ready for a quick negotiation process and immediate ratification of treaties!" the Riigikogu tweeted after the vote.
Speaker @ratasjuri visits @SuomenEduskunta today, to express support for #Finland accession to #NATO. #Estonia is a firm supporter of both Finland and #Sweden joining NATO. We are ready for a quick negotiation process and immediate ratification of treaties!#FinlandNATO pic.twitter.com/4L0czzQ9yd— Riigikogu (@Riigikogu) May 17, 2022
Both Finland and Sweden will reverse their policy of non-alignment after public opinion to join NATO shot up after Russia attacked Ukraine in February.
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Editor: Helen Wright