The Social Democratic Party of Finland (SDP) elected the party’s vice president, Sanna Marin, 34, to take over the leadership of the Government from former prime minister Antti Rinne on Sunday. The president was forced to resign last Tuesday in the middle of the presidency of the European Union (EU) after losing the confidence of coalition government partners over his handling of a strike at the state postal company.
Marin will be the youngest prime minister in the country’s history and the youngest government leader in the world, ahead of Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk, who is 35 years old.
Marin, after just six months in government, occupying the Transport and Communications portfolio, beat the parliamentary spokesman of the SDP, his only rival, by 32 votes to 29, to succeed Antii in a vote of the Social Democratic Committee in Helsinki. The new government must still receive the approval of the Eduskunta (Finnish Parliament) in a vote scheduled for next week, although this is considered a formality since the coalition has a comfortable majority of 117 seats out of a total of 200.
Marin, who represents the most progressive and environmental wing of the party, will now lead the center-left government coalition composed of the SDP, the liberal Center Party, The Greens, the Left Alliance and the Swedish People’s Party (SFP ), representative of the Swedish-speaking minority of the Nordic country.
A feminist whose polticial views were influenced by having raised by her lesbian mother and her partner, decades before Finnish law recognized gay marriage, Marin told reporters “I am from a homoparental family and that has undoubtedly conditioned me so that equality, parity and human rights are very important to me.”
Born in 1985 in Helsinki, she joined the Social Democrats at a young age. In 2012, she was elected Councilor of the City Council of Tampere and in 2015, at age 29, she won her first seat in the Eduskunta (the Finnish Parliament), although the SDP recorded the worst results in its history with 16.5% of the vote. In 2017 she became the party’s vice president.
In elections held in April, the SDP won an agonising victory over the right-wing True Finnish party by just 7,000 votes and went on to form a center-left coalition of five parties.
However, the coalition lasted just six months before the the Center Party withdrew their trust in Prime Minister Antti Rinne who resigned on Tuesday after the centrists threatened to endorse a motion of censorship of tabled by the opposition.
Analysts predict a slight turn to the left for the three and a half years remaining in the legislature.
“I come from a family with few resources and I would not have had the chance to succeed and progress if we did not have a solid state of well-being and a good educational system,” she said in an interview with a local media.