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Thursday's papers: Partying premier, poll popularity and floating power plants

Paper Maaseudun Tulevaisuus asks whether power generated by icebreakers could be integrated into the public grid.

During an energy shortage, icebreakers' diesel power plants could provide power to the public grid. Image: Petteri Bülow / Yle

Videos of Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin partying began circulating on social media on Wednesday, Iltalehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun) reports.

The paper said it was publishing snippets of the videos as "the Prime Minister appearing in the videos gives them social weight."

The video shows the celebrants, featuring the premier, singing, hugging, and dancing together to songs of Finnish artists Petri Nygård and Antti Tuisku, IL reports, adding that the material appears to have been filmed in a private residence and features drinking glasses and swearing.

Several celebrities can also be seen with Marin in the videos, IL reports, including artist Alma, photographer and influencer Janita Autio, TV presenter Tinni Wikström, TV host Ilona Ylikorpi, radio presenter Karoliina Tuominen, stylist Vesa Silver and MP Ilmari Nurminen (SDP).

Marin's partying and online publicity, IL writes, is a departure from traditional prime ministerial style and has attracted a lot of attention and debate.

Marin's celebrations have also drawn international attention. The paper points out that, last year, a columnist for Swedish paper Dagens Nyheter (siirryt toiseen palveluun) criticised Marin's behaviour as "kissing celebrities' asses", while this week, German magazine Bild (siirryt toiseen palveluun) praised Marin's partying and called her "the coolest politician in the world".

Finns Party sees an increase in support

In its editorial, Finland's largest circulation daily Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) discusses the increase in support for the Finns Party and what it might mean for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

According to the paper's latest voter support poll, 16 percent of respondents would back the party if the elections were held now. This is an increase of 1.3 percentage points since July.

Despite seeing a slight decline in support, the National Coalition Party (NCP) continues to lead the polls. The Centre Party also experienced a small dip in support, while the Social Democrats recorded another slight increase since last month.

The Finns Party's increased popularity in the polls will likely cause jitters among rivals, according to HS. In the same period before the previous parliamentary elections, support for the Finns was at 15.9 percent (2014) and 7.9 percent (2018) and both years, election results were clearly better than polls, the paper explained.

It is no secret that the party knows how to pick a compelling election theme and make the most of it, HS writes. As other parties have also learned this game, there is a danger that, as the elections approach, all parties will start to sound like angry opposition parties, the editorial concludes.

Floating power plants?

Could the power from the icebreaker fleet floating off Katajanokka in Helsinki be integrated into the public grid in the event of an energy shortage in Europe, paper Maaseudun Tulevaisuus (siirryt toiseen palveluun) asks.

According to the paper, each of the eight icebreakers has 4-6 diesel engines to run its propellers.

In total, the ships can generate between 100 and 120 megawatts. A microwave oven, for instance, is typically rated at 750 watts, which means the icebreaker's generator current could power at least 133 thousand microwave ovens, the paper explains.

In theory, the vessels could be utilised in the instance of an energy shortage, but there are some practical challenges, as the ice breakers do not have a ready-made plug from which electricity can be fed into the grid.

The ships' power plants would also generate electricity by burning diesel oil, which is neither economical nor ecological," Tero Hänninen, Technical Director at Arctia Oy, the company responsible for the icebreakers, told the paper.

"During a hard winter, with severe frosts and lots of ice, the icebreakers would not even be available for energy production. Last winter, for example, almost all of the icebreakers were at sea," Hänninen said.

Therefore, icebreakers may play a greater role in Finland's security of supply when they ensure access to ports for cargo ships than when they generate electricity themselves, the paper points out.