Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 23 January 2020

Finland's Sanna Marin to be world's youngest prime minister

The 34-year old was serving as transport minister before she was selected as the country's third female leader

The candidate for the next prime minister of Finland, Sanna Marin, after the SDP's prime minister vote in Helsinki, Finland on December 9, 2019. Lehtikuva via Reuters
The candidate for the next prime minister of Finland, Sanna Marin, after the SDP's prime minister vote in Helsinki, Finland on December 9, 2019. Lehtikuva via Reuters

A 34-year-old transport minister and parliamentarian has been named as Finland’s prime minister and its third female government leader.

Finland’s ruling Social Democratic Party council voted 32-29 on Sunday to name Sanna Marin over rival Antti Lindtman to take over the government’s top post from incumbent Antti Rinne.

Having emerged as Finland’s largest party in the April election, the Social Democrats can appoint one of their own to the post of prime minister in the Nordic nation of 5.5 million.

Ms Marin has been the party’s vice chairwoman, a parliamentarian since 2015 and served as the minister for transport and communications until this week. According to Finland’s biggest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, and the Ilta-Sanomat tabloid, Ms Marin will become the world’s youngest sitting prime minister.

Finland holds the European Union’s rotating presidency until the end of this year. Politicians are likely to approve the appointment of Ms Marin and her new government quickly so she can represent Finland at the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels later this week.

The candidate for the next prime minister of Finland, Sanna Marin is seen with runner up Antti Lindtman after the SDP's prime minister candidate vote in Helsinki, Finland, December 8, 2019. Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. FINLAND OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN FINLAND.
Sanna Marin with runner up Antti Lindtman after the SDP's prime minister candidate vote in Helsinki. Lehtikuva via Reuters

Mr Rinne stepped down after a key coalition partner, the Centre Party, withdrew its support saying there was a lack of trust. The Centre Party also criticised Mr Rinne’s leadership skills prior to a two-week strike by the country’s state-owned postal service Posti in November that spread to other sectors, including the airline Finnair.

Mr Rinne’s decision prompted the resignation of a coalition of the Social Democrats and the Centre Party and three junior partners: the Greens, the Left Alliance and the Swedish People’s Party of Finland.

On Sunday, Social Democrats and the four other coalition parties said they are committed to the government programme agreed upon after the April election and will continue in Ms Marin’s new government.

Social Democrats said Sunday they’re seeking to have Mr Rinne, a former trade union leader, become the parliament’s vice speaker. He also plans to stay on as the Social Democrats’ chairman until next summer.

Updated: December 9, 2019 11:14 AM

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