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Swedish lawmakers vote to endorse country joining NATO

In this photo illustration a flag of NATO seen displayed on a smartphone screen with flag of Sweden in the background in Athens, Greece on May 12, 2022. Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO. (Photo illustration by Nikolas Kokovlis/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Swedish lawmakers have overwhelmingly voted in favor of the country joining NATO.

The 349-seat parliament authorized Sweden’s accession to the Western military alliance in a 269-37 vote, with 43 lawmakers absent. It was the last required domestic hurdle to the country becoming part of the 30-member alliance.

Six of the eight parties represented in Sweden’s parliament were in favor of NATO membership, and the vote that followed a nearly seven-hour debate on Wednesday was seen as a formality.

Both Sweden and neighboring Finland applied to join NATO in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Two NATO countries, Turkey and Hungary, have yet to ratify the Nordic nations’ joint application.