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Finnish minister, 34, to become youngest PM

Sanna Marin will become the world’s youngest sitting prime minister, according to Finland’s biggest newspaper.

Sanna Marin (Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva via AP)
Sanna Marin (Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva via AP)

By Jari Tanner, Associated Press

A 34-year-old transport minister is set to become Finland’s youngest prime minister ever and its third female government leader.

Finland’s ruling Social Democratic Party council voted 32-29 to name Sanna Marin over rival Antti Lindtman to take over the government’s top post from incumbent Antti Rinne.

Having emerged as Finland’s largest party in the April election, the Social Democrats can appoint one of their own to the post of prime minister in the Nordic nation of 5.5 million.

Ms Marin has been the party’s vice chairwoman, a lawmaker since 2015 and served until this week as the minister for transport and communications.

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Sanna Marin, right, with former prime minister Antti Rinne (Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva via AP)

According to Finland’s biggest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat and the Ilta-Sanomat tabloid, Ms Marin will become the world’s youngest sitting prime minister.

Finland currently holds the European Union’s rotating presidency until the end of the year.

Politicians are likely to approve the appointment of Ms Marin and her new government quickly so she can represent Finland at the December 12-13 EU leaders’ summit in Brussels.

Mr Rinne stepped down on Tuesday after a key coalition partner, the Centre Party, withdrew its support, citing lack of trust.

The Centre Party also criticised Mr Rinne’s leadership skills prior to a two-week strike by the country’s state-owned postal service Posti in November that spread to other industries, including the national flag carrier Finnair.

Mr Rinne’s resignation prompted the formal resignation of a coalition of the Social Democrats and the Centre Party and three junior partners: the Greens, the Left Alliance and the Swedish People’s Party of Finland.

The Social Democrats and the four other coalition parties said they are committed to the government programme agreed upon after the April election and will continue in Ms Marin’s new government.

The new government will still have a comfortable majority of 117 seats at the 200-seat Eduskunta (parliament).

The Social Democrats said they are seeking to have Mr Rinne, a former trade union leader, become the parliament’s vice speaker.

He also plans to stay on as the Social Democrats’ chairman until a party congress next summer.

PA

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