New government sworn in: Sanna Marin becomes Finland’s youngest ever PM

The new PM says her schedule is already busy, as she will attend a European Council meeting in Brussels this week to meet her EU colleagues for the first time.

Press conference with Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) Helsinki, 10th December 2019 / Credit: Lauri Heikkinen, VNK

Finland’s new government has been sworn in by President Sauli Niinistö at a ceremony in Helsinki on Tuesday afternoon.

The five parties remain the same as the government sworn in after the spring general election – Social Democrats, Centre Party, Greens, Left Alliance and Swedish People’s Party – and the division of responsibilities within cabinet remains broadly the same as well, albeit with the SDP and Centre shuffling some of their ministers.

The new government is headed by Tampere MP Sanna Marin who at age 34 becomes the world’s youngest sitting prime minister. She’s also Finland’s third female PM; and leads the country’s 76th government.

Earlier, Marin had easily won a confirmatory vote in parliament 99 votes to 70, with 30 MPs not in attendance.

Speaking during Tuesday’s ceremony, President Niinistö said that “internal disagreements within the previous government went too deep. At the same time, the political debate has become very heated. At times the atmosphere is inflamed.”

“It is important that we find a better common language. This does not mean that no sharp and critical debate is used. But it is also important to respect those views that differ from their own” the president said.

President Niinistö (L) swears in Prime Minister Sanna Marin (R) in Helsinki, 10th December 2019 / Credit: Kosti Keistinen, VNK

Sanna Marin: “We want to create stability”  

At a Tuesday evening press conference, Prime Minister Marin (SDP) made an appearance with the other government coalition leaders Katri Kulmuni (Centre), Li Andersson (Left) and Maria Ohisalo (Green). Minister for Equality Thomas Blomqvist (SFP) filled in for party leader Anna-Maja Henriksson who is in Washington DC today.

Speaking in English, Ohisalo said “we want to build a society that is socially, economically and environmentally sustainable. We want to strengthen equality, education and skills.”

“We want Finland to be a country where every child can become anything, and anyone can live and grow old safely and happily.”

The PM also said Finland was going to be active not only in the European Union, but also globally. “We want to create stability” she told reporters.

Marin said the new government was already starting work today, and that her calendar is busy as she will be attending the European Council meeting in Brussles to meet her EU colleagues for the first time.

“I have been glad to see the international attention towards Finland, this is our opportunity to tell who we Finns are, and what kind of country Finland is.”

File picture of Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) / Credit: Lauri Heikkinen, VNK