Sat | Jan 25, 2020

Finland gets world’s youngest prime minister, a woman age 34

Published:Tuesday | December 10, 2019 | 11:43 AM
Social democrats minister Sanna Marin speaks to the media after she was elected as Prime Minister of Finland, in Helsinki, on Tuesday, December 10, 2019. (Heikki Saukkomaa/Lehtikuva via AP)

HELSINKI (AP) — Finland became the country with the world’s youngest sitting head of government Tuesday when the Nordic country’s parliament chose a 34-year-old woman with liberal views and a down-to-earth style as prime minister.

Lawmakers in the 200-seat Eduskunta voted 99-70 to make Sanna Marin, a Social Democrat who served as transport and communications minister in the outgoing administration, the leader of a five-party, center-left coalition government.

The four other parties in the coalition are led by women — three of whom also are in their early 30s.

Marin, the No. 2 official in the Social Democratic Party, succeeds Antti Rinne as prime minister.

Rinne, 57, stepped down a week ago after a key coalition partner, the Center Party, withdrew its support, citing lack of trust.

Marin is the third women picked to become Finland’s prime minister.

The first, Anneli Jaatteenmaki, served for part of 2003.

The second, Mari Kiviniemi, governed for a yearlong period between 2010 and 2011.

Seen as a liberal advocate for climate and environment issues, Marin was raised in a “rainbow family” headed by two women.

She has told Finnish media about growing up in what she described as modest circumstances, past struggles to identify her way in life, and the fulfilment she found in politics.

After the vote in favour of her appointment, Marin reacted with a faint smile.

President Saul later greeted her and her Cabinet, which has women holding 12 of the 19 minister positions.

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