Finland’s prime minister burst into international headlines this week when videos of her partying went viral in her home country. But who is Sanna Marin, and how did she find herself in the public eye?
Marin was elected to the position of prime minister on Dec. 10, 2019, at 34 years old, making her the youngest person elected as Finland’s premier and only the third woman to serve in the position. Before Marin became prime minister, she had been active in Finland’s center-left Social Democratic Party since the age of 20, according to CNN.
Born in 1985, her parents divorced when she was a child “because of my father’s alcohol problem,” Marin wrote in a 2016 blog post. Her mother then began a relationship with another woman, and Marin and her two mothers lived in a rented apartment where they had an “abundance” of love, according to a translation of the blog provided by the outlet.
Marin’s first set of jobs involved working at a bakery at the age of 15, distributing magazines in high school, and working as a cashier after graduation. In reflecting on her childhood, Marin has stated that “a poor family’s child can educate themselves and achieve their goals in life,” she wrote on social media.
At the age of 27, Marin was elected as the leader of the city council for Tampere, Finland, a position she served from 2013 to 2017. In 2015, she became a member of Parliament, where she served as a member of the country’s “Grand Committee, Legal Affairs Committee, and Environment Committee,” according to Columbia University.
Marin’s focuses have been on supporting Finland’s increase in refugee intakes and raising the country’s taxes to support the welfare state. She has also voiced support for environmental issues, calling climate change and the loss of biodiversity “some of the biggest problems of our times,” according to the university.
In 2018, Marin and her partner, Markus Raikkonen, a former soccer player, had a daughter in 2018. Raikkonen and Marin got married two years after their daughter was born, according to the Daily Mail.
Marin hit the headlines earlier this week when videos emerged online showing her partying with others. In one video, someone could be heard making a reference to “powder gang,” a Finnish slang phrase often used to refer to cocaine, and in another video, Marin is seen dancing provocatively with a man who is not her husband.
In response to the leaked videos and demands from her critics, Marin announced that she had taken a drug test and insisted she had never taken drugs and did not see anyone taking drugs at the party she attended, she said during a press conference Friday.
“In recent days, there have been quite grave public accusations that I was in a space where drugs were used or that I myself used drugs. I consider these accusations to be very serious, and though I consider the demand for a drug test unjust, for my own legal protection and to clear up any doubts, I have taken a drug test today, the results of which will come in about a week,” the prime minister said.
Last year, she was criticized for being seen at a nightclub after reports that she had been in close contact with a government colleague who tested positive for COVID-19. Marin apologized afterward, claiming she was initially told not to isolate but was later told to avoid social contact through a text message she did not see until later.