Finland’s transportation minister Sanna Marin is to become the country’s youngest ever prime minister and the world’s youngest sitting leader.
The 34-year-old was selected by her Social Democrat party following the resignation last week of Antti Rinne, who stood down from the top job after losing the confidence of coalition partner the Centre Party over his handling of a postal strike.
The SDP council voted 32-29 last night to name Marin over rival Antti Lindtman to take over as PM. She will be sworn in on Tuesday.
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Following her vote victory, Marin said: “We have a lot of work to do to rebuild trust.”
But she brushed away questions about her age, saying: “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.”
Born in Helsinki, Marin was raised by same-sex parents in what has been described as a “rainbow family”. She has said that as a child she felt “invisible” because she felt unable to talk openly about her parents.
She went on to graduate from the University of Tampere with a Master of Administrative Sciences, before beginning what The Times describes as a “rapid rise” through the ranks of Finnish politics.
Marin became head of the city council of her industrial hometown of Tampere at the age of 27. She has been a member of the Parliament of Finland since 2015 and has served as minister of transport and communications since June.
She will be stepping into her new role as PM at a tricky time: a three-day wave of costly strikes will halt production at some of Finland’s largest companies from today.
Reuters points out that the timing of the change in leadership is also “awkward for Finland”, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU until the end of the year.
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