When a 34-year-old woman was appointed to the highest political office in Finland, a 94-year-old Prime Minister advised her to listen to what older people have to say. PM Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia is the oldest elected leader in the world, and his words of advice were directed to PM Sanna Marin of Finland, who rose to power after former PM Antti Rinne was removed through a no-confidence vote.
The way the Finnish Parliament works, the leading party in the governing coalition votes to appoint a new PM whenever a situation such as a vote of no confidence takes place. The tally gave PM Marin, a former Minister of Transportation, 99 votes in favor and 70 not in favor. It should be noted that this is not a general election whereby voters cast their ballots; that will happen at a later date, and it would be up to PM Marin to campaign at that time.
PM Marin is not the only young woman in a political leadership position in Finland; of the five parties in the governing coalition, four are presided by women under the age of 42. In fact, one such leader is a 35-year-old woman who could be next in line for the PM post.
To say that PM Marin has risen quickly in Finnish politics would be an understatement. She was elected Mayor of Tampere when she was 27 years old; her academic background is in administration, and she obtained her most recent degree just a couple of years ago. She has been involved with the Social Democratic Party of Finland, which is aligned with the red rose political movement, since 2006.
As befits a young political leader, PM Marin is quite active on Instagram. She is known to base her decisions on forging a climate of stability, and she has a two-year-old child. Her first challenge will be to negotiate a round of national labor strikes that have paralyzed industrial production in this highly-developed Nordic country for a few days.
Other young political leaders around the world include President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador, who is 38 years old and has been previously called the “coolest head of state” because of his penchant to issue rulings via Twitter. President Carlos Alvarado of Costa Rica is 39 years old and has previously played in a Pink Floyd cover band, but he is not very active on social media.
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