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Mon, 20 Jan 2020 21:39 GMT

World’s Youngest Prime Minister Takes Office in Finland

Politics

7Dnews London

Wed, 11 Dec 2019 22:22 GMT

While those in the UK might be bemoaning their choice for their next prime minister or the face of the next government in their uninspiring election campaign, Finland released a photo of their new government, a Centre-Left coalition of women led by Social Democrat Sanna Martin, who at 34 is the world’s youngest PM.

Marin was officially appointed as the country's prime minister on Tuesday December 10th, becoming the world's youngest sitting head of government, as reported by AFP.

“She doesn’t come out of nowhere,” said Johanna Kantola, a professor of gender studies at Finland’s Tampere University, cited in the New York Times.

Marin has been a rising star in Finland’s Social Democratic Party since first entering Parliament in 2015, “And she is quite well-liked,” Kantola added.

The former transport minister takes the helm of a coalition of five parties that will all be led by women once the prime minister takes over as head of her Social Democratic party next year. All but one of the coalition leaders are under 35.

Marin became Finland's third female prime minister after her nomination was passed in Parliament by 99 votes to 70 Tuesday and President Sauli Niinisto officially appointed the new centre-left cabinet. She succeeds Antti Rinne, who resigned last week after losing the trust of allies over his handling of a postal strike.

Marin has made global headlines for becoming not only Finland's youngest ever leader, but also the world's youngest sitting head of government, ahead of Ukraine's Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk, who is currently 35.

But on Tuesday, Marin deflected questions about the international attention she has received over becoming the world's youngest premier.

"My own thoughts have been on practical things and this week, I haven't followed what the press have been writing very much either at home or abroad," she told reporters outside Parliament.

"I have never thought about my age or gender, I think of the reasons I got into politics and those things for which we have won the trust of the electorate."

Marin grew up looked after by her mother and her mother's girlfriend, and said that her "rainbow family" showed her the importance of "equality, fairness and human rights". In a 2015 interview, Marin said she felt 'invisible' as a child because she could not speak openly about her unique family arrangement.

She also said that her childhood strongly influenced her political priorities, which include protecting Finland's generous welfare system and low levels of inequality.

"I come from a poor family and would not have been able to succeed and move forward were it not for the strong welfare state and the Finnish education system," she said.

The Social Democrats took office in June after defeating the far-right, anti-immigration Finns Party by narrow margins in April's general election.

The victory was seen by some commentators as a triumph for Finland's liberal society over a party that ran on a ticket of cutting asylum levels almost to zero and halting anti-climate change measures. Speaking after Tuesday's vote, Marin pledged to rebuild public trust in her party.

"We have promised the Finnish people change, and now we must deliver on that promise. In June we agreed a government programme together and I believe it is through actions that we will best restore people's trust," she said.


Europe