Social Democrats pick Sanna Marin as Finland’s PM-in-waiting

The Tampere MP will become the youngest prime minister in the world, age 34, when she passes a confirmatory vote in parliament in the next few days.

File picture of Sanna Marin (SPD) / Credit: Jukka-Pekka Flander. SDP

The Social Democrats have chosen Tampere MP Sanna Marin to be their candidate to lead the government, a move that effectively makes the 34-year old Finland’s prime minister-in-waiting.

At a special party conference on Sunday evening Marin beat out the SDP’s parliamentary group leader Antti Lindtman 31-29 in the race to be the party’s PM candidate.

“The party council is a 60 member body, an intermediary between the full party conference and the party executive. Those 60 people have the power to choose the prime minister candidate” explains an SDP official.

For now, former prime minister Antti Rinne stays as party leader, at least until their next summer conference. Rinne will not be taking up a ministerial position, event though the Centre Party saying they wouldn’t mind if he did.

Despite the turmoil of the last week, senior SDP party figures have a good news story to tell.

“I am very proud. We have the youngest prime minister in the world, and also Finland leading and paving the way for gender equality with obviously the youngest female prime minister in the world” says Ville Skinnari, Minister of Development and Trade.

“I was supporting Sanna for the simple reason that we have been working together for the last years as Vice Chairs of the Social Democratic Party and our cooperation has been very productive” he tells News Now Finland.

“I really look forward that we can continue that work and also really start to implement our most ambitious government programme in the world when it comes to carbon neutrality, and also how we turn our programme into visible actions and results – meaning job creation, new investments in education and also turning Finland to the right tracks among the top countries in the world” says the Lahti MP.

File picture showing exterior of parliament building / Credit: News Now Finland

What happens next? 

It’s the Finnish parliament which formally chooses the next prime minister, and a confirmatory vote should happen in the first few days of the week – at least by Wednesday at the latest.

President Niinistö will officially announce the name of the candidate for prime minister, and the full parliament gets to vote on it.

However, with the five-party coalition government continuing as before, they have sufficient votes to make Sanna Marin the new prime minister.

Centre Party signals full steam ahead 

The Centre Party have made it clear over the last week since they withdrew support for Antti Rinne that they wanted to continue with the same coalition partners.

The reality is, there wouldn’t be another viable combination of parties which would work together in government.

“The Centre Party doesn’t have any problems with the politics, there’s no programme issues, no political problems” says Centre Party parliamentary group leader Antti Kurvinen.

“We had problems with the management and leadership, and how we have had problems with the situation with the prime minister” he tells News Now Finland.

“We believe in the five-party coalition.”

Political congratulations 

The four other coalition party leaders – for the first time in Finnish history they are all women – sent their congratulations to Sanna Marin on her vote victory.

The leader of the Centre Party, and Deputy Prime Minister, Katri Kulmuni tweeted her congratulations on Sunday evening.

“Congratulations to the new Prime Minister Sanna Marin, and full support! The next generation of red-green coalition has a year of work ahead. The task of the government is to improve the everyday life of Finns and to create hope for the future” she writes.

Left Alliance leader Li Andersson also tweeted her congratulations and said it would soon be possible to continue their cooperation “for a fair and lasting future.”

Swedish People’s Party leader Anna-Maja Henriksson also tweeted her congratulations and wrote “it is good to be able to continue our good cooperation on behalf of Finland.”

And Maria Ohisalo, leader of the Greens wrote “now we are working on a great joint government programme to continue the fight against climate chance and inequality, and to restore education.”