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Tuesday's Papers: Govt speculation, measles threat, sadness over Notre Dame

Many of the nation's newspapers are speculating about the composition of a new government after Sunday's elections in Finland.

Ruiskun piikki imee nestettä vihreäkorkkisesta pullosta. Taustalla sinivalkoinen tausta.
File photo of a medical syringe. Image: AOP

Aamulehti is among the papers that Tuesday carried a syndicated Lännen Media analysis of the prospects for upcoming government formation talks.

According to this article, climate issues and taxation may be the main stumbling blocks in finding a smooth path for the creation of a working coalition.

As the head of the party that came in first place in Sunday's voting, SDP chairman Antti Rinne will be sending out a list of questions to other parties on policy issues on the 26th of this month.

The paper says that it is clear that some of the questions will concern climate change. It will be difficult to find a fit between the ambitious climate programme promoted by the SDP and comments by Finns Party representatives about "over-ambitious" climate targets. This could well be one reason that the SDP will not invite the Finns Party into a coalition.

As for taxation, the SDP and conservative NCP are far apart, Aamulehti notes. Demands by Rinne for a return to centralised labour agreements could also put the two parties on a collision course.

The day after the election, the SDP leader stated that his immediate feeling was that the Left Alliance and the Greens would make for more natural allies in government.

As the paper points out, these are also the three parties that made the biggest gains in Sunday's vote.

The Centre Party has not declared itself out of the running for a place in a new cabinet. However, according to this paper, following its massive losses at the polls, the Centre has a lot of dirty laundry to wash before it will be fit to join in a coalition. The SDP and the Centre Party, though still have major differences, especially over Prime Minister Juha Sipilä's economic and employment policies.

Regardless of what constellation of parties ends up in the cabinet, according to this analysis, in practice the Greens are all but certain to be a part of it. If so, it is likely that the Green chair, Pekka Haavisto will have the foreign affairs portfolio.

EU election impact

Turku's Turun Sanomat points out that the campaign for elections to the European Parliament will be underway at the same time as government formation talks are going on. It quotes Finns Party leader Jussi Halla-aho as saying that this could have an effect on the negotiations.

Halla-aho pointed out that the various parties have to emphasise their differences in an election campaign, something that is not necessarily harmonious with the process of forming a new government.

Political parties will be formally filing lists of candidates for the EU parliamentary elections on Thursday of this week.

Channel surfing

The Kuopio-based Savon Sanomat carries a Finnish News Agency STT report that over half the nation's population tuned into Yle television coverage of the elections on Sunday evening.

Altogether 2.7 million viewers watched Yle's election reporting with a peak of almost 1.6 million between 9:30 PM and 9:44 PM.

They were not all, however, glued to coverage, but bounced back and forth between TV1 and TV2 which was carrying the finals of the Women's World Ice Hockey Championships, a broadcast that drew some 2.4 million pairs of eyes.

Danger of measles growing

Finland's largest circulation daily, Helsingin Sanomat, Tuesday warned that the dangers posed by measles could be growing in Finland again.

The paper points to the latest figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) showing that the number of cases of measles has risen this year, especially in France, Poland, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Bulgaria and Ireland.

According to Helsingin Sanomat, the spread of measles in Finland could rise as well, as the overwhelming majority of cases last year and this year were infections picked up in other parts of Europe.

Last year there were 15 cases of measles identified in Finland. So far this year, there have been six. Last year three of those originated in Asia, the rest in Europe, both from EU countries and other nearby areas.

The paper says that this may have influenced the rise registered in the number of inoculations against measles. According to figures released by Finland's National Institute for Health and Welfare in February, 96.1 percent of children born in 2016 had received inoculations providing immunity against the measles. During the years 2014 and 2015, that figure was 94.9 percent.

Notre Dame fire

The blaze which heavily damaged Paris' Cathedral of Notre Dame Monday night was front-page news in almost every Finnish newspaper on Tuesday morning.

As reported by most papers, including Iltalehti, among the outpouring of sympathy from world leaders was a tweet by Finland's President Sauli Niinistö addressed to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

Screen capture of tweet by President Niinistö.
Screen capture of tweet by President Sauli Niinistö. Image: Yle

Writing in French, President Niinistö said, "Finland shares the sadness in the face of this terrible fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. Our thoughts are with France and Parisians tonight."

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