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Friday's papers: Political fragmentation, farm fragility and discounter sponsorship

Friday's newspapers cover drops in support for Finland's large political parties, dry weather hurting crop harvests, and Lidl sponsoring the Olympic Stadium.

Olympiastadion remontissa.
Helsinki Olympic Stadium, which is now sponsored by Lidl. Image: Retu Liikanen.

The leading daily Helsingin Sanomat published a poll this week, and on Friday the paper has an editorial on the state of play just under one year before the next parliamentary election. The trend, according to HS, is shrinking support for the big players that could lead to a situation where the largest party (which by convention takes the Prime Minister post) has the support of less than 20 percent of voters.

That fragmentation is a long-running trend, with the three largest parties after 1945 the Social Democrats, the Agrarian League (predecessor of today's Centre Party) and the Finnish People's Democratic League, an alliance of leftist and communist parties. They took up some three quarters of the spots in parliament but they were riven by internal disagreements, most noticeably on relations with the Soviet Union.

As Finland urbanised and modernised, and following the collapse of the Soviet Union, that setup changed. The big shift recently has been the rise of the Green party to fill a gap in the liberal centre of Finnish politics. They are now polling around 14 percent and are regarded as part of the 'big four' and could play a part in the next government, when relatively recently they were level with the Left Alliance in the polls.

Drought damages crops

Rural paper Maaseudun Tulevaisuus looks at farms and the effect of recent dry weather on crop yields. In short, it's pretty bad. Farmers' representatives from the south-west say they haven't had an early summer this dry since 1959.

In Kainuu and northern Ostrobothnia the first harvest of the growing season is down around a third, while in the region around Lappeenranta harvests are down by about a quarter.

It's not all bad, however: North Karelia reports there have been showers and crops were sown early, so expectations are high for a decent return from the fields.

A Lidl bit of income

Helsinki's Olympic Stadium is under renovation and due to re-open in 2020, with a brand new look and slightly smaller capacity at a cost of more than 200 million euros.

That expensive work is now being supported by the German discount grocery store chain Lidl, reports ad industry paper Markkinointi & Mainonta, with the firm pleased to support "modern experiences" at the venue.

There is not yet any word about the naming rights.

The stadium was originally constructed for the 1940 Olympics, which were cancelled due to the Second World War, and eventually used for the 1952 games.

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