Finland’s new young female prime minister breaks the mold

Copenhagen, Finland’s next government is breaking the mold in multiple ways.

Sanna Marin, the 34-year-old transport minister, was tapped over the weekend by the ruling Social Democratic Party to be Finland’s new prime minister. When she takes the reins of the country, most likely on Tuesday, she will become the world’s youngest sitting head of government, Associated Press (AP) reported.

Finland, like much of the West, has seen a rise in right-wing populists and the nationalist Finns Party did well in April election, though centrist and left-wing parties won most votes and together could govern in the multi-party coalition.

Marin will become the youngest-serving leader of a government in the world, beating out Ukraine’s 35-year-old prime minister, Oleksiy Honcharuk. She might not hold that title for long, however. Sebastian Kurz, the 33-year-old former Austrian chancellor who rose to that position when he was 31, won an election in September and is in talks to form a new governing coalition that would put him back in the job.

Marin joins a small group of female leaders who have sought to counteract the rise of populism. That group includes Slovakian President Zuzana Caputova, 46, a progressive whose election this year bucked the trend of populism and nationalism in Central Europe.

Beside Marin, the coalition’s other party leaders are 32-year-old Katri Kulmuni of the Center Party; the Left Alliance’s Li Andersson, 32; Maria Ohisalo, the 34-year-old leader of the Greens; and the head of the Swedish People’s Party, Anna-Maja Henriksson, who at 55 is the oldest.

The coalition will have a comfortable majority of 117 seats in the 200-seat Eduskunta, or Parliament.

The Center Party announced Monday that Kulmuni will be the finance minister in the new government.

Marin will be Finland’s third female government leader. Women have been present in politics in the Nordic region for decades and today represent half of the party leaders in Sweden. Four of Denmark’s nine parties are headed by women.

Mette Frederiksen became Denmark’s prime minister in June, while Erna Solberg has been Norway’s head of government since 2013.

Iceland’s Vigdis Finnbogadottir was the first woman to be democratically elected as head of state by voters when she defeated three men for the presidency in 1980.

Source: Bahrain News Agency