Finland’s Social Democrats Name Marin to Be Youngest Ever Prime Minister

December 8, 2019 Updated: December 8, 2019
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HELSINKI—Finland’s transportation minister Sanna Marin was selected by her Social Democratic party on Sunday to become the country’s youngest prime minister ever, taking over after the resignation of Antti Rinne.

The 34-year-old Marin, whose party is the largest in a five-member governing coalition, will be the world’s youngest serving prime minister when she takes office in the coming days.

Rinne resigned on Tuesday after a party in the coalition, the Centre Party, said it had lost confidence in him following his handling of a postal strike.

Epoch Times Photo
The candidate for the next prime minister of Finland, Sanna Marin is seen with runner up Antti Lindtman after the SDP’s prime minister candidate vote in Helsinki, Finland, December 8, 2019. (Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva/via Reuters)

“We have a lot of work ahead to rebuild trust,” Marin told reporters after winning a narrow vote among the party leadership. Antti Lindtman, head of the party’s parliamentary group, was runner up.

Marin has risen swiftly in Finnish politics since becoming head of the city council of her industrial hometown of Tampere at the age of 27.

Sanna Marin (right) and incumbent Antti Rinne
The candidate for the next prime minister of Finland, Sanna Marin (right) and incumbent Antti Rinne, are seen after the SDP’s prime minister candidate vote in Helsinki, Finland, December 8, 2019. (Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva/via Reuters)

She will take over in the middle of a 3-day wave of strikes, which will halt production at some of Finland’s largest companies from Monday. The Confederation of Finnish Industries estimates the strikes will cost the companies a combined $550 million in lost revenue.

The center-left coalition, which took office just six months ago, has agreed to continue with its political program stressing a shift to “carbon neutrality” after Rinne announced he was stepping down at the demand of the Centre Party.

“We have a joint government program which glues the coalition together,” Marin said.

The timing of the change in leadership is awkward for Finland, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union until the end of the year, playing a central role in efforts to hammer out a new budget for the bloc.

By Tarmo Virki