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Tuesday's papers: Fresh poll, fresh snow, Moomin mug sale cancelled

A new Helsingin Sanomat election poll shows a narrowing lead for the Social Democratic Party, growing support for populist Finns Party.

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Voters looking over election posters. Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

According to the HS poll published by Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday morning, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) continues to lead in popularity among voters, followed by the conservative National Coalition Party and the Finns Party.

Based on this poll, it is possible that for the first time in history, no one single party will win more than 20 percent of the vote, says the paper.

Now standing at 19.5 percent, support for the SDP declined 1.5 percentage points since the last HS poll carried out in late March. Backing for the National Coalition Party also fell slightly (0.6 percentage points) to 17.5 percent.

The most significant change seen is the climb by the populist Finns Party from fifth place to third, supported by 15 percent of the voters polled.

Backing for the Greens has gone down from 14 to 12 percent and the Left Alliance edged up from 8.9 to 9.6 percent. There were no major shifts in backing for other parties.

Sakari Nurmela, head of research for the pollster Kantar TNS, told the paper that there are still a lot of factors that could impact the final outcome in the elections.

One that he noted is whether or not the parties can actually translate support into votes. He said that this close to the election one in three voters is possibly ready to switch parties.

In addition, for example, one fifth of backing for the Finns Party right now is from people who did not vote in the last municipal elections at all.

Tuesday is the final day of advanced voting in the parliamentary election. According to Helsingin Sanomat, as of Monday evening 28.3 percent of eligible voters had cast their ballots.

Election day is this coming Sunday, April 14.

Niinistö in St Petersburg

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö is in St Petersburg, Russia for a two-day International Arctic Forum, and is scheduled to meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.

Commenting on prospects for the forum, Mika Aaltola of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, told the newspaper Iltalehti that environmental and military security are major concerns and the expansion of those concerns into the Arctic region is clearly not in Finland's interest.

According to Iltalehti, it is of major importance to Finland who attends this week’s forum in St Petersburg. Among those expected are the president of Iceland, the prime ministers of Norway and Sweden, and Denmark's foreign minister.

Aaltola explained that while during its presidency of the Arctic Council Finland has stressed dialogue over power politics, great power interests in the Arctic region have come to the fore.

Even so, Finland's promotion of dialogue has borne some fruit. As an example the paper notes that on Tuesday the top political leadership of Norway and Sweden will meet with Russian leaders for the first time in years.

Fresh snow, slippery roads

The tabloid Ilta-Sanomat cautions drivers in central parts of the country over hazardous driving conditions and those in eastern areas of the possibility of extremely hazardous conditions.

Most of the country will continue to see rain, sleet or snow through Wednesday.

Areas where warnings to motorists are in effect up until 6 PM on Tuesday include Central Finland, South Savo, North Savo and North Karelia.

The paper reports that according to forecasts, some parts of the central region may get an accumulation of 15-30cm of fresh snow.

Moomin mug sale cancelled

Turku's Turun Sanomat reports that the woman who bought a rare Moomin-themed mug at auction for 6,100 euros last weekend has cancelled the deal and taken her money back.

The auction for what some believe to be the world's rarest ceramic Moomin mug was held at Auction Centre Turenki in southern Finland on Sunday, arousing widespread media interest.

Initially, the woman who made the winning bid was pleased with her purchase and said she planned to put the mug in a display case, alongside her collection of more than 500 others.

On Monday, however, she contacted the auction house to say she suspected that the mug's handle had been broken off and glued back on sometime before she bought it. An examination by the auction house verified a hairline crack in the base of the handle.

Although the fracture is barely visible without a magnifying glass, the auction house agreed that for the kind of money that was paid for it, it should have been in pristine condition at the time of sale, as advertised.

The buyer's money has been returned. A representative of the auction house was unable to tell Turun Sanomat if and when the rare collector’s item will be put up for sale again.

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