Finland’s Marin steps down as party leader

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HELSINKI, April 5 (Reuters) – Finland’s outgoing Prime Minister Sanna Marin is stepping down as leader of the Social Democratic party, she said on Wednesday, adding she will serve as a regular lawmaker in the newly elected parliament from next week.

“I will start my work as member of parliament next week and I hope I can also lead a calmer life,” Marin told a news conference, adding she would not run for president.

She said she had not received any offers for international positions.

Marin sought another term as Finland’s leader in last Sunday’s election but her party came third behind the right-wing National Coalition and the Finns parties.

Here is a profile of Finland’s outgoing Prime Minister Sanna Marin, whose left-wing Social Democrats lost a parliamentary election on Sunday, although they might still join the next coalition with election winner the National Coalition Party.

Marin became the world’s youngest premier at 34, when she took office in late 2019.

Born in 1985 in Helsinki, she grew up near Finland’s south-western industrial hub of Tampere with her mother and her mother’s girlfriend.

She said her family was “very poor” during her childhood, and before turning 20 she worked in a department store to support herself before taking advantage of Finland’s free education to obtain a master’s degree in administrative studies.

Marin got involved in politics from a young age and earned a reputation as a competent leader, chairing her hometown Tampere’s city council from age 28.

She was elected to parliament in 2015 and again in 2019, when her party won the election and she became minister of transport and communications.

Only six months in, then-party chair Antti Rinne was forced to resign over his handling of labour strikes, and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) chose Marin to replace him as prime minister.

Marin soon found herself managing Finland’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and then Europe’s energy crunch caused by neighbouring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Having appeared on the covers of Vogue and Time Magazine, Marin, now 37, has a million followers on Instagram and is considered by fans around the world as a millennial role model for progressive leaders.

But at home, she has been criticised by the opposition for her centre-left coalition’s debt-fuelled spending and by the media for what she called “boisterous” partying with social media influencers at the height of Europe’s energy crisis.

To defuse the crisis, Marin agreed to take a drugs test, which found no trace of illegal substances.

Marin has a five-year-old daughter with partner Markus Raikkonen, whom she married in 2020 while in office.

Outgoing Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin leaves after a press conference in Helsinki, Finland, 05 April 2023. Marin announced her resignation from Social Democratic Party leader following defeat in Finland’s parliamentary elections on 02 April. EPA-EFE/RONI REKOMAA

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