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AFP
December 10, 2019

Finland’s Sanna Marin, world’s youngest PM

World

AFP
December 10, 2019

At 34, Sanna Marin will become the world’s youngest sitting prime minister when she is sworn in by the Finnish parliament on Tuesday, but she is far from lacking in political experience.

The former transport minister gained a reputation as a tough, straight-talking operator from her five years as leader of the city council in her hometown of Tampere, where she took office in 2012 aged 27.

Marin’s rise to the pinnacle of Finnish government means that when she takes over as head of the Social Democratic Party next year, women will hold the top job in each of the five parties in Finland’s governing centre-left coalition, and all but one of the leaders are aged under 35.

Marin becomes not only Finland’s youngest ever prime minister, but also the world’s youngest sitting head of government, ahead of Ukraine’s Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk, who is currently 35.

After being selected by her Social Democratic party on Sunday to replace outgoing PM Antti Rinne, who quit last week over his handling of a postal strike, Marin deflected questions about her age.

"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," she told reporters.

The Social Democrats took office in June after defeating the far-right, anti-immigration Finns Party by the narrowest of margins in April’s general election. The victory was seen by some commentators as a triumph for Finland’s liberal, equal society over a party which ran on a ticket of cutting asylum levels almost to zero and halting anti-climate change measures.