Finland elects country’s youngest-ever prime minister, and its third female leader

by Editorial Team

Finland’s 34-year-old minister of transportation and communications, Sanna Marin, is set to become the country’s youngest ever leader after her country’s ruling Social Democratic Party voted her in, 32-29 late Sunday.

Marin, who will be the third woman to lead the Northern European nation, edged out rival Antti Lindtman, reported the Associated Press. They were angling to replace Antti Rinne, who resigned last Tuesday after losing the support of a key ally. He stepped down after the Centre Party, part of the coalition government, lost confidence in him because of the way he handled a postal strike, Reuters reported.

The Social Democrats emerged as Finland’s largest party in April, which allows them to appoint the prime minister for the Nordic nation, whose population numbers 5.5 million.

Marin had had a test run when she stood in for her predecessor previously as he recovered from an illness, Bloomberg News reported.

The country is in the middle of a three-day strike, and Marin’s first job will be to repair relationships with the government coalition partners.

“There’s a lot of work to be done to rebuild trust,” she told reporters after the party vote, according to Bloomberg. “We are still committed to a common policy program, and that’s the glue that unifies us as the government.”

The opposition anti-immigrant Finns party has almost more support than the existing government, Bloomberg said. That’s about neck and neck with the combination Social Democrats and Center Party, its main ally, which each have a little more than 10% popularity.

Marin still must be elected by Parliament, but given that Finland currently holds the presidency of the European Union until year’s end, the transition is likely to be smooth so she can represent the country at the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels Thursday and Friday.

Marin has been in Parliament since 2015 and is now the world’s youngest national leader, next to 39-year-old Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, as the New Zealand news site points out.


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