Finland's new government: too young and too female?

Sanna Marin is to become Finland's new prime minister - the youngest in the country's history at 34 years of age. Marin, who is currently minister of transport and communications, was picked as the candidate for the post by her Social Democrats party and will in all likelihood be elected by the parliament today, Tuesday. Her appointment is making waves, and not just in the Finnish Press.

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The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

The overconfidence of youth

For the Daily Telegraph, the rise of a younger generation of politicians is nothing to celebrate:

“Young politicians ... decry what has gone before as uniformed and ill-educated, claiming that their generation has been ignored - and using that as a pretext to blithely ignore what they themselves dislike. ... Though youth may come with glamour and confidence, people recognise it for what it is: The fleeting overconfidence they themselves once had before they grew up. Politics is not Hollywood, where the new bright thing can get away with being vapid under the skin because they don't need any substance. ”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Skeptical macho Italy

In La Repubblica, columnist Gad Lerner sees all the fuss being made in Italy over the young female cabinet in Finland as a sign of backwardness:

“Only in our latitudes can the quintet of female party leaders and Finnish ministers be perceived as something eccentric. ... We should wake up: throughout Europe the history of women's emancipation has already completed its natural course - in Scandinavia without doubt, and not just there, but also in the corridors of power in Brussels and Frankfurt. Could it (also) be the abundance of pink holding the important posts that arouses the skepticism of the macho sovereigntists in our country?”

Polityka (PL) /

Finland also has its glass ceiling

Polityka points out that women are also at a disadvantage in Finland:

“It's true that Finland is doing better than other societies when it comes to gender equality (the country has already had a female president, prime minister and parliamentary speaker). And in daily life, women also play a strong role. Nonetheless there is a glass ceiling when it comes to the real power: the economy. ... The proportion of women in senior management positions at companies is lower than in the US, even though the US's 45 presidents and 40 vice presidents have all been men.”

Karjalainen (FI) /

Marin moves country to the left

The future prime minister will set new accents in her party, Karjalainen believes:

“Under Marin, the Social Democrats will clearly move further to the left compared to the last decade, and compete with the Greens for votes. ... That also represents a risk for the party. In any event, it won't stop voters from defecting to the right-wing populist Finns Party. But 34-year-old Sanna Marin could well become a new phenomenon. In fact, she already is. Marin quickly became the most interesting person in her party for its voters. ... Her age is also contributing to this. Marin will be Finland's youngest prime minister to date, and she's currently the world's youngest prime minister too.”

Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

Predictable continuity, new style

With Marin there will be fewer surprises in the future, predicts Helsingin Sanomat:

“The changes that Marin's victory will bring are no doubt even smaller - if that's at all possible - than if [her rival within the party] Lindtman had won. After all, Marin served as minister in Rinne's government for half a year. So it will be back to business as usual. The political style could change, however. Antti Rinne's term as prime minister was characterized by a certain unpredictability. In Parliament he sometimes made surprising statements about which the coalition partners had not been informed in advance. That certainly won't be the case with Marin as Prime Minister. She is known for always having everything firmly under control.”