Leading Finland At Thirty-Four

December 26, 2019

To you, our young readers, thirty-four years old might seem old. After all, it might be the age of your mom or dad! Gasp, we know! But all kidding aside, thirty-four years old isn’t old at all, and in the world of global leaders, it’s actually quite young. In fact, if you’re a world leader and younger than forty, you’re part of a very small group of world leaders.

Jari Niemelä [Public domain]
This week, Finland’s former transport and communications minister and social democrat Sanna Marin was elected by her party to become the prime minister of Finland. She is the youngest person to ever be elected for that role in Finland and only the third female to hold the position of prime minister. Impressive, right? But how did she get to be the leader of Finland in the first place? It wasn’t easy (she wasn’t born into wealth or a political family), but Marin attributes a lot of her success to her mom whose support made her believe that she could achieve anything. Marin became the first person in her family to graduate high school and college, and she entered into politics at just twenty years old. She rose through the ranks, first as city council member of Tampere (a city north of Helsinki), then as a member of parliament (MP) for the Social Democratic Party, and finally as the transport and communications minister. When former Prime Minister of Finland Antti Rinne resigned earlier this month for his mishandling of a postal strike earlier this year, the Social Democratic Party elected Marin to be their leader. Marin has a big job ahead of her, with industrial workers and unions ready to strike when their contracts end in the next few months. Will she be able to accomplish what former Prime Minister Rinne was not? We’ll just have to wait and see!