Finland’s Social Democratic Party vice-chairperson Ms. Sanna Marin hogged the global limelight as she was on December 10, 2019 sworn in as the Prime Minister of the country to become the world’s youngest serving head of a government at 34. She heads a 5-party Centre-Left coalition whose four other parties are all led by women, three of them in their early thirties.
A parliamentarian since 2015, Ms. Marin is the third female leader of the government in the history of Finland. She is also the youngest Prime Minister ever in the Nordic nation of 5.5 million people. The Transport and Communications Minister in the last government, Ms. Marin has taken over from Mr. Antti Rinne, who resigned after just six months in office when he lost the confidence of the Centre Party, a coalition partner, over his handling of a postal strike.
Earlier, the Social Democratic Party council had voted 32-29 to name her over rival Mr. Antti Lindtman to take over the government’s top post. Ms. Marin has had swift rise in Finnish politics since becoming head of the city council of her industrial hometown of Tampere at the age of 27.
The four other female party leaders in Finland’s ruling coalition are Ms. Li Anderson, 32, who heads the Left Alliance; Ms. Maria Ohisalo, 34, of the Green League; Ms. Katri Kulmuni, 32, from the Centre Party; and Anna-Maja Henriksson, 55, of the Swedish People’s Party.
Finland was one of the first countries in Europe to give women voting rights back in 1906 and the first country in the world to vote women to Parliament in 1907.
After Ms. Marin, the second youngest sitting Prime Minister is Mr. Oleksiy Honcharuk, 35, of Ukraine while the third youngest is Prime Minister of New Zealand Ms. Jacinda Ardren, 39. An all-time youngest prime minister was William Pitt the younger of the then Great Britain, who assumed the office at the age of 24 in 1783. In recent times, the youngest leader of a country has been the former Austrian Chancellor Mr. Sebastian Kurz, who assumed the office in 2017 at the age of 31. On the other side of the scale, the oldest Prime Minister is Malaysia’s sitting Prime Minister Mr. Mahathir Mohammad, 94.