Finland will have the world’s youngest serving prime minister later this week when Sanna Marin, 34, is sworn in by parliament at the head of a coalition whose four other parties are all led by women, three of them in their thirties.
Marin, currently the transport minister, will take over from Antti Rinne, a former trade unionist who resigned last week after just six months in office when he lost the confidence of the Centre party, a coalition partner, over his handling of a postal strike.
She will become the Nordic country’s youngest ever head of government, but said on Sunday night she had “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.”
The five-party, Social Democrat-led coalition has agreed to stay together and maintain the policy programme it announced in June, focusing on major increases in public spending on welfare and infrastructure, and a pledge to make the country carbon neutral by 2035.
Marin, who narrowly won her party’s vote on Sunday to replace Rinne as prime minister, said the programme “glues the coalition together”, but admitted the new government had “a lot of work to do to rebuild trust”. Her Social Democrats currently stand at just 13% in the polls, well behind the nationalist Finns on 24%.
Finland’s third female prime minister, Marin was raised by a single mother who later entered a same-sex relationship, and was the first of her family to go to university. She will be the world’s youngest sitting prime minister: New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern is 39, while the Ukrainian Oleksiy Honcharuk is 35.
She has enjoyed a rapid rise in Finnish politics since becoming head of the council of Tampere, Finland’s second biggest city, at the age of 27, and stood in for Rinne as party leader earlier this year when he had to take time off because of illness. _Agencies