Finland Is About to Get the World's Youngest Prime Minister

  • In World
  • 2019-12-09 09:49:21Z
  • By Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- At just 34 years old, Sanna Marin is about to make history as she becomes the world's youngest serving prime minister.

The Finnish Social Democrat won her party's backing over the weekend, and is set to be confirmed on Tuesday. Marin will need to govern a five-party coalition that just ousted her predecessor, Antti Rinne, after he stumbled on a number of key issues. In the end, he was toppled in a dispute centering on pay at the state postal company.

Marin will lead a government at a younger age even than New Zealand's Premier Jacinda Ardern, who was 37 at the time of her appointment. North Korea's Kim Jong Un was under 30 years old when he became Supreme Leader in 2011. In Austria, former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was 31 when he assumed office in 2017. Going further back in history, William Pitt the Younger stands out, becoming Britain's prime minister at just 24 in 1783.

Finland's new leader -- the third woman to hold the position -- will take over after the ruling coalition on Sunday agreed to keep working together to advance its existing policy program. But she faces a tough start after Rinne's ouster just six months into his first term left rifts across the government.

Marin had a chance to demonstrate her leadership skills earlier this year, when she stood in for Rinne while he was recovering from a serious illness.

Finland's Parliamentary Tradition

The peculiarities of Finland's parliamentary system led to about 60 Social Democrats being in a position to pick the country's next premier. Snap elections are a distant possibility and not automatically triggered by the government's resignation. What's more, parties have considerable leeway in selecting their own ministers.

The Center Party on Monday announced a partial reshuffle, with its leader Katri Kulmuni becoming finance minister in a swap with Mika Lintila, who takes on the economy minister's role.

Among the Social Democrats, Europe Minister Tytti Tuppurainen will also supervise government shareholdings, and Sirpa Paatero resumes oversight of local government. Timo Harakka takes over from Marin as minister for transport and communications, and Tuula Haatainen becomes employment minister.

Marin says her first task will be to rebuild confidence across party lines within her coalition.

"There's a lot of work to be done to rebuild trust," she told reporters after the party vote. "We are still committed to a common policy program, and that's the glue that unifies us as the government."

Meanwhile, the cabinet is losing support in the polls. Almost a quarter of Finns would now vote for the opposition anti-immigration Finns Party, making it the country's most popular. The Social Democrats and its main government ally the Center Party were each backed by just over 10% of the population in the latest survey by YLE.

The Social Democrats are particularly hampered by the country's aging population, with pensioners making up a huge chunk of its backing. With public finances under pressure as the number of working-age people drops, the party's traditional platform -- a generous welfare society -- is increasingly under threat.

The government hopes to create at least 60,000 jobs to underpin its fiscal policy. But that pledge coincides with a cooling down in Finland's economy. Further headwinds loom as trade unions demand pay increases, which risks undermining the competitiveness of Finnish exports.

"The government's road won't be easy," Marin said. "That's OK. I've proven my abilities."

(Adds Sebastian Kurz in third paragraph)

To contact the reporters on this story: Kati Pohjanpalo in Helsinki at;Leo Laikola in Helsinki at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tasneem Hanfi Brögger at

For more articles like this, please visit us at

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


More Related News

Economy tanking, Cuba launches some long-delayed reforms
Economy tanking, Cuba launches some long-delayed reforms
  • World
  • 2020-08-06 14:21:59Z

With its airports closed to commercial flights and its economy tanking, Cuba has launched the first in a series of long-promised reforms meant to bolster the country's struggling private sector. The island's thousands of restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts, auto mechanics and dozens of other types of private businesses have operated for years without the ability to import, export or buy supplies in wholesale markets.While the communist government began allowing widespread private enterprise a decade ago, it maintained a state monopoly on imports, exports and wholesale transactions. As a result, the country's roughly 613,000 private business owners have been forced to compete for scarce...

Hezbollah Will Not Escape Blame For Beirut
Hezbollah Will Not Escape Blame For Beirut
  • World
  • 2020-08-05 11:50:00Z

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- As if the Lebanese haven't suffered enough. For months, they have been caught between an economic meltdown, crumbling public services, and a surging pandemic. Now they must count the dead and survey the extensive damage to their capital after two giant explosions on Tuesday.The blasts, especially the second, were so huge they were reportedly heard and felt in Cyprus. At least 100 people are reported to have been killed-that number will almost certainly rise-and thousands injured. A large expanse of the port and its immediate neighborhood lies in smoking ruin; miles away, streets are full of shattered glass.Prime Minister Hassan Diab's government says the explosions...

Now for the hard part: Argentina must fix economy after debt deal
Now for the hard part: Argentina must fix economy after debt deal

It took months of tough talks for Argentina to reach agreement on restructuring $65 billion in debt. "This was the easy step," Stephen Liston, senior director at the Council of the Americas, said of the debt deal. How the once-wealthy grains producer does from now is the acid test for Peronist President Alberto Fernandez and his star Economy Minister Martin Guzman, fresh from taming Wall Street.

Up to 10,000 Covid-infected people entered UK to fuel spread of disease after Government lifted restrictions, say MPs
Up to 10,000 Covid-infected people entered UK to fuel spread of disease after Government lifted restrictions, say MPs
  • World
  • 2020-08-04 20:32:49Z

Failure to introduce quarantine at the start of the outbreak saw up to 10,000 infected people enter the UK, accelerating the spread of disease, an investigation by MPs have said. The all-party home affairs committee today (Wed) said the Government's "inexplicable" decision to lift restrictions on some one million people who arrived in the UK between March 13 and lockdown on March 23 contributed to the pace and scale of the Covid-19 outbreak in Britain They said this "highly unusual approach" to the pandemic contrasted with other countries from Singapore and New Zealand to Spain which were at the time introducing more comprehensive measures including quarantine and self-isolation for...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: World