Finland’s ‘Party Girl’ Prime Minister Sanna Marin Facing Defeat in Sunday’s Elections

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin attends a joint press conference with the Swedish Prime Minister following a meeting at the retreat residence of the Swedish Prime Minister in Harpsund 120km west of Stockholm on January 8, 2020. (Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP) (Photo by JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images)

Finland’s millennial prime minister, Sanna Marin, could see her time in power come to an end after Sunday’s elections, with her Social Democrat Party (SDP) falling to third place in the final survey before voters head to the polls.

In what looks to be a race that will go down to the wire, leftist Finnish PM Sanna Marin, 37, is fighting for her political future, as her party has fallen to third place in the last survey before Sunday’s parliamentary election, now trailing behind the centre-right National Coalition Party (KOK) and the populist-nationalist right-wing True Finns party.

According to the survey, conducted by Finnish broadcaster Yle, the KOK party ranked first among voter intention with 19.8 per cent support, followed by 19.5 per cent for the True Finns, who have surpassed Prime Minister Marin’s left-wing SDP, which dropped by over a per cent to 18.7 per cent.

The two right-leaning parties also have an apparent edge in enthusiasm, with 76 per cent of KOK supporters saying that they definitely plan on voting, compared to 72 per cent for the True Finns and 67 per cent for supporters of the millennial PM’s party.

However, given the tightness of the race between the leading three parties, it is possible that any one of them could come out on top following Sunday’s elections depending on the performance of the other more marginal parties and their willingness to form a coalition with any of the top three.

The decline in popularity for Prime Minister Marin and her party follows a rocky year for the young leader over her perceived party lifestyle, including allegations of drug use and footage showing her “dancing intimately” with a man in a nightclub who was apparently not her husband.

In the wake of the scandals, Marin submitted herself to a drug test, which she passed. However, the scandals continued after more footage emerged on social media showing two topless women kissing in an official government residence, forcing the PM to issue a public apology.

“We had sauna, swam, and spent time together,” Marin said, continuing: “that kind of a picture should not have been taken but otherwise, nothing extraordinary happened at the get-together.”

The election comes at a critical time for Finland, with the Nordic nation on the precipice of joining the American-led NATO military alliance after decades of neutrality amid the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. This week, the Turkish parliament voted in favour to ratify Finland’s application to join NATO, clearing the final hurdle for the nation to enter into the alliance.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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