Finnish Social Democrat Sanna Marin is about to become the world’s youngest prime minister, the Washington Post reported on Monday (December 9) after the 34-year-old won on Sunday (December 8).
The progressive leader is the third woman to be elected prime minister in Finland and will be replacing Prime Minister Antti Rinne, who resigned on Tuesday (December 3) — just six months into his term, Bloomberg reported — after mishandling a postal workers’ strike. Marin told reporters that she has “a lot of work ahead to rebuild trust,” according to Reuters.
“The past week has been extraordinary,” Marin told reporters, according to Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. “Now is the time to look ahead. What is needed now is action beyond words to build trust from all government parties.”
Finland has a coalition government, which means five parties lead the country; Marin will serve at the helm of that alliance. Every one of those coalitions will be led by women, and four of those women are also under the age of 35, according to the Post. The other leaders include 32-year-old Li Andersson of the Left Alliance, 32-year-old Katri Kulmuni of the Centre Party, 34-year-old Maria Ohisalo of the Green League, and 55-year-old Anna-Maja Henriksson of the Swedish People’s Party of Finland.
Alexander Stubb, Finland’s prime minister from 2014 to 2015, tweeted a congratulatory message to all five leaders, writing: “My party is not in government, but I rejoice that the leaders of the five parties in government are female. Shows that #Finland is a modern and progressive country. The majority of my government was also female. One day gender will not matter in government. Meanwhile pioneers.”
The Guardian reported that the five leaders are focusing on a policy program they announced in June, promising increased public spending on welfare and infrastructure, and a dedicated plan to make the country completely carbon neutral in the next 15 years.
Marin joins the world's other youngest prime ministers, including 39-year-old Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand and 35-year-old Oleksiy Honcharuk of Ukraine (not to be confused with Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky, the person currently entrenched in the United States impeachment inquiry). Marin, who was formerly the country’s transportation minister, according to the New York Times, is so young, she legally would not be able to be elected president in the U.S. — the youngest U.S. president was Theodore Roosevelt who was 42 years old when he started his presidency.
According to the Guardian, Marin, who was raised by a single mother, was the first in her family to go to university and became the leader of Finland's third largest city at the age of 27. But she told the news outlet YLE that she doesn’t think about her age or gender as qualities that affect her leadership. “I think of the reasons I got into politics and those things for which we have won the trust of the electorate,” she said.