Finland picks world’s youngest PM to head women-led cabinet

FILE PHOTO: Finland's Members of Parliament, Katri Kulmuni (L) and Sanna Marin participate in the A-studio talk show in Helsinki, Finland December 3, 2019. Lehtikuva/Roni Rekomaa/via REUTERS

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Finland’s new prime minister – about to become the world’s youngest serving premier – will have a finance minister two years her junior in a new women-led coalition cabinet, party officials said on Monday.

Sanna Marin, 34, from the dominant Social Democrats, was chosen by her party as the sole candidate for prime minister on Sunday. Centre Party chief Katri Kulmuni, 32, will get the finance post when the new cabinet is officially nominated on Tuesday, party members said.

Finland’s government resigned last week after the Centre Party said it had lost confidence in Social Democrat Prime Minister Antti Rinne over his handling of a postal strike.

The five parties in power – four of them led by women – decided to stay in coalition and continue with the same programs, but said there would be a reshuffle.

Marin will take over in the middle of labor unrest and a wave of strikes which will halt production at some of Finland’s largest companies from Monday. The Confederation of Finnish Industries estimates the strikes will cost the companies a combined 500 million euros ($550 million) in lost revenue.

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE FAN

Marin has had a swift rise in Finnish politics since becoming head of the city council of her industrial hometown of Tampere at the age of 27.

“I myself have never thought about my age or my gender, but rather about the issues for which I took on politics and about the reasons for which we were trusted in the elections, the former transport minister told public broadcaster YLE after being picked as the prime minister candidate by her party.

Political scientist Jenni Karimaki of Turku University said the new government reflected what voters had wanted in last April’s election, with many new young women and men voted into parliament.

“There are more women in the parliament’s composition than ever before…Voters and citizens wish to see more women in top positions, bearing even the heaviest responsibilities the society can offer,” she told Reuters.

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