Sanna Marin of Finland Set to Become World’s Youngest Prime Minister at 34

Sanna Marin was voted in by fellow lawmakers from the Social Democratic Party late Sunday.
Credit…Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva, via Reuters

Sanna Marin, 34, is set to become the world’s youngest sitting prime minister when she is sworn in this week in Finland, after being elected to the position by her party late Sunday.

The country’s coalition government consists of five parties, four of which are led by women, with Ms. Marin now at the helm. Four of the women are under the age of 35, which Finnish political experts say is more significant, symbolic of the rise of a new generation of politicians in the Nordic nation, which has had strong female representation for decades.

“The past week has been extraordinary,” she told reporters, according to Helsingin Sanomat, a leading Finnish newspaper. “Now is the time to look ahead. What is needed now is action beyond words to build trust from all government parties.”

Formerly the country’s transportation minister, Ms. Marin was voted in by fellow lawmakers in her Social Democratic Party after a turbulent week in which Prime Minister Antti Rinne resigned over his handling of a postal workers strike.

Although Mr. Rinne will continue as head of the party, Parliament is expected to confirm Ms. Marin as prime minister as soon as Tuesday, depending on how quickly the other coalition parties name their ministers. Once sworn in, she will be Finland’s youngest prime minister to date and its third female prime minister.

Ms. Marin, a left-leaning liberal, has been a member of Parliament since 2015. She began her political career in 2012, when she was elected to the local council in the southern city of Tampere. Most recently she was minister of transportation and communications in Mr. Rinne’s government.

Serving as Mr. Rinne’s deputy when he took an extended sick leave earlier this year, she helped lead their party to a narrow win in national elections.

Alexander Stubb, who was Finland’s prime minister from 2014 to 2015, posted on Twitter that having a government led by women “shows that #Finland is a modern and progressive country.”

“One day, gender will not matter in government,” he wrote. “Meanwhile pioneers.”

Of the five women in leading ministerial positions in the coalition, four are under 35. Asked about her age after it was announced that she would be prime minister, Ms. Marin reiterated what she has said numerous times: Age doesn’t matter.

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SOURCE: The New York Times, Johanna Lemola and Megan Specia