As Finland prepares to go to the polls on Sunday, Prime Minister Sanna Marin is fighting on the left wing of her country’s politics.
Marin broke the mold to become the world’s youngest sitting prime minister in 2019 at the age of 33.
She leads the country’s Social Democrats, the five-party coalition that presides over Finland.
Marin became a treasurer after graduating from high school and was the first member of his family to attend university. She entered politics at 20 and quickly moved up the ranks of the center-left Social Democratic Party.
As she rose to power, she was viewed on the world stage as something of a trailblazer, setting an example for step-by-step leaders around the world.
The youth and his kind stood out from their elders, who were generally middle-aged men.
Marin and his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern were ready to send a journalist who asked for the purpose of the first ever visit to New Zealand by a Finnish prime minister last year.
“A lot of people will be surprised that the two of you are meeting just because you’re the same age and, you know, they’ve got a lot of common stuff there,” the journalist said at a press conference in Auckland. “We meet because we are prime ministers,” Marin said in response.
Now Marin and his party Democrats are going to use it this weekend, with the final poll From the Finnish public radio show Yle, you will make the state move to the right.
Petteri Orpo’s right-wing National Coalition Party is ahead by a slim margin, followed by Riika Purra’s Finnish Nationalist Party and then Marin’s SDP party.
“All three parties are so close that one of them could be the leader on Sunday,” Tuomo Turja from Taloustutkimus, who conducted the Yle poll, told the outlet.
While Marin has been praised internationally for his progressive policies, including on trans rights, he has faced criticism at home for his coalition’s hefty public spending.
The Marin government has placed an emphasis on funding public services, such as health and education, to achieve economic growth. But her political rivals accuse her of not reigning in the country’s economy.
This comes at a time when Finland is expected to fall into recession this year. Second Bank of Finland BulletinFinland is facing the kind of problems seen around the world: the energy crisis exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine and the rise in the cost of living.
Both Orpo and Purra have pledged to boost the government’s finances, with Orpo saying his first concern is to tackle the country’s debt, even if it means cutting benefits that have been suspended in the economy, according to Reuters.
Teivo Teivainen, a professor of world politics at the University of Helsinki, explained that Marin’s generous public spending in the pandemic was arguably necessary, his pledge to continue ^ which was the cause of the treatment.
“For his opponents, usually opponents of his party in general, the main problem is increased public spending,” Teivainen told CNN.
“Although it can be argued that in the exceptional times of Covid and the war, the spending was necessary in many ways, his current election program promises the continuation of the public health, education, care of the elderly and other successful things.
“So the right-wing opponents say this is reckless against the debt of the country.”
Marin faced domestic backlash last year when footage emerged of him dancing with friends.
He acknowledged the party was “on a turbulent path” after the release of private footage that went viral online – but said he was angry that the footage, which had incited criticism from political opponents, had been leaked to social media.
“These videos are private and filmed in a private space.” I am outraged that these have become public knowledge,” Marin told reporters in Kuopio, Finland.
“I spent the night partying with my friends. We just left, even in a turbulent way. I danced and sang,” he said.
The footage prompted some of Marin’s opponents to criticize the prime minister’s inappropriate behavior. Mikko Karna, the opposition MP, tweeted that Marin had to undergo a drug test – which later came back negative.
Others came out in support of the prime minister, with women around the world taking to social media to dance to themselves, using the hashtag #solidaritywithsanna. Her defenders claim that a young woman has the right to enjoy normal activities such as going to clubs with friends.
Marin’s private political life was not the first in Finland. She previously apologized to the public in 2021 after a photo of her in a nightclub was deleted, following a positive test for Covid-19 by Finnish foreign ministers.
Whoever wins this election will have to form a coalition of several parties in order to have a majority in parliament. But it could be more difficult to negotiate.
Marin previously rejected the government with the Finnish party Purra, accusing him of being “blatantly racist” in a debate in January – an accusation Purra vehemently denied.
Teivainen believes that one of the most likely outcomes of the election is a right-wing government formed from the Finnish Party and the National Party Coalition.
“The more outright anti-immigrant views of the Finnish National Coalition Party would be somewhat moderated, which recognized the need to attract more immigrants to Finland for economic reasons.
“Certainly it would be more fiscally and socially conservative than the current government, but not in any way different from the previous government.
“It could also mean that Finland’s current pledge to be carbon neutral by 2035 could become flexible,” CNN said.
Purra previously promised Finland’s party to delay the 2035 carbon neutrality target set by the ruling Marin coalition.
According to Teivainen, another likely outcome is a coalition between the National Coalition Party and the Sanna Marin Social Democrats, which he believes are “some, albeit more moderate, for the right policies, especially for fiscal discipline.”
Whoever is Finland’s new leader will focus on leading the country into NATO after Turkey finally approved its application to join the military alliance last week in Helsinki, ending months of delays.
Yle interviewed 1,830 Finnish citizens to vote. The survey was conducted from 1-28, 2023. Results have a margin of error of plus or minus two points.