Strike-Hit Finland Appoints World’s Youngest Prime Minister, Moves Further Left

Sanna Marin of Finland's Social Democrates is pictured after she was elected to the post of Prime Minister in Helsinki, Finland, on December 8, 2019. - Sanna Marin narrowly won the vote to replace outgoing leader Antti Rinne, who resigned on Tuesday, December 3, 2019, after losing the confidence of …
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Sanna Marin of Finland’s left-wing Social Democratic Party is to be the next Prime Minister of the sparsely populated Nordic nation of Finland, and will be the youngest serving head of government worldwide.

The elevation to Prime Minister is the culmination of Marin’s swift rise in Finnish politics, with the 34-year-old going from local mayor, to member of parliament, to transport minister, to government leader in less than a decade.

Finnish broadcaster YLE reports Marin, who addresses her party colleagues as “comrades”, will move the already left-wing government further to the left, and is a “red-green and liberal ideologue”.

Marin will now be confirmed as Prime Minister and leader of the Finnish government, an increasingly fractious left-green coalition of five small parties, in the coming days. The focus of the new government will be “restoring trust” after a series of scandals and strikes, and will continue to be comprised of Marin’s Social Democrats, the Left Alliance, the Green League, the Centre Party, and a left-liberal leaning party representing the interest of Finland’s Swedish-speaking minority.

As well as being the youngest serving head of government worldwide, Marin will also be Finland’s youngest ever leader, and their third female Prime Minister. All government parties in Finland are presently led by women.

The outgoing Prime Minister, former union leader Antti Rinne, was pushed out of office last week after losing a vote of no confidence in his leadership. He was blamed for a poorly handled pay dispute at Finland’s national post office. His government was only six months old, having been formed after the previous centre-right coalition government collapsed over its failure to deliver a programme of public reform including improving health care provision while reducing the government budget.

Reuters reports Finland is facing a new wave of strikes starting today, with major factories shutting down production which follows strikes by the postal service and sympathy strikes in other industries in recent months.

Marin’s Social Democrats grabbed headlines last month after one of its politicians was discovered to have faked a racist incident, claiming he had been told to “go back to Somalia”. He subsequently claimed that while he had indeed lied and created the hoax, it was only because he was “angry” and wanted to reflect on something “real” in society.

While the coalition of cooperating small left-parties presently rules Finland, the anti-mass migration and anti-European Union True Finns (Perussuomalaiset) party presently tops the polls as the most popular in Finland, enjoying nearly a quarter of national support and a clear ten-point lead over the much smaller but governing Social Democrats.

Despite it having the broadest support of any single Finnish party, the True Finns remain unable to form a national government, as they lack a network of other, smaller parties to build a governing coalition as the Social Democrats do in their centrist and green allies.

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