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Saturday February 22nd, 2020 2:22PM

Finland gets world's youngest prime minister, a woman age 34

By The Associated Press
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HELSINKI (AP) — Finland became the country with the world's youngest sitting head of government Tuesday when the Nordic country's parliament chose a 34-year-old woman with liberal views and a down-to-earth style as prime minister.

Lawmakers in the 200-seat Eduskunta voted 99-70 to make Sanna Marin, a Social Democrat who served as transport and communications minister in the outgoing administration, the leader of afive-party, center-left coalition government.

The four other parties in the coalition are led by women — three of whom also are in their early 30s. Marin, the No. 2 official in the Social Democratic Party, succeeds Antti Rinne as prime minister.

Rinne, 57, stepped down a week ago after a key coalition partner, the Center Party, withdrew its support, citing lack of trust.

Marin is the third women picked to become Finland's prime minister. The first, Anneli Jaatteenmaki, served for part of 2003. The second, Mari Kiviniemi, governed for a yearlong period between 2010 and 2011.

Seen as a liberal advocate for climate and environment issues, Marin was raised in a "rainbow family" headed by two women.

She has told Finnish media about growing up in what she described as modest circumstances, past struggles to identify her way in life, and the fulfillment she found in politics.

After the vote in favor of her appointment, Marin reacted with a faint smile. President Saul later greeted her and her Cabinet, which has women holding 12 of the 19 minister positions.

The timing means she will be able to represent Finland at the European Union summit in Brussels later this week . Finland currently holds the bloc's rotating presidency until the end of the year.

Marin became the youngest leader of a government in the world, beating out Ukraine's 35-year-old prime minister, Oleksiy Honcharuk.

But she might not hold the title for long. Sebastian Kurz, 33, the former Austrian chancellor who rose to that position at age 31, is in talks to form a new coalition that would put him back in the job.

Marin's rise to the top level of Finnish politics was rapid. When she was 27, she took over as city council leader in her hometown of Tampere, an industrial and university town in southern Finland.

She became a national lawmaker in 2015.

Beside Marin, the coalition's other party leaders are 32-year-old Katri Kulmuni of the Center Party; the Left Alliance's Li Andersson, 32; Maria Ohisalo, the 34-year-old leader of the Greens; and the head of the Swedish People’s Party, Anna-Maja Henriksson, who at 55 is the oldest.

——

Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark contributed to this story.

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