Finland: how much partying can Marin permit herself?

Two leaked private videos showing Finnish PM Sanna Marin partying and dancing with friends have triggered a fierce debate. Marin has defended herself saying that while she lamented that the footage had been made public she had done nothing wrong or illegal, and she took a drug test to prove it. Europe's press reflects the debate.

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Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Protect democracy and let her dance

For Dagens Nyheter the fierce criticism of Marin is a malicious witch hunt:

“The images of the dancing prime minister are not in any way connected to her job or political views. And her tears are also a sign of how important the boundary between the private and the public sphere is for a democracy. If this boundary falls, the rule of law is eroded. ... The result is a world of secretly recorded conversations, unexpected denunciations and permanent mistrust. ... It is the creeping return of totalitarianism. ... Let Marin and other government leaders dance in peace. If only for the sake of democracy.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Misogynists' last stand

Volkskrant columnist Aleid Truijens sees rancid misogyny driving the scandal:

“Marin wisely led Finland through the Covid crisis. ... She steered her country into Nato. She defied Putin's threats and defended Western freedoms. ... The fact that Marin is beautiful, that she naturally combines family life with her office as prime minister, that she unconcernedly posts photos of herself in sexy outfits or breastfeeding, fuels the need among international losers to humiliate her. It is a final rebellion, this wave of hatred. It comes from a group that is losing influence. The worldwide support for Marin, from men and women alike, easily drowns out the grumbling of the impotent haters.”

Keskisuomalainen (FI) /

Democracy requires transparency

Keskisuomalainen accuses Marin of having a skewed idea of the role of the media in a democracy:

“The problematic aspect about the prime minister's party video is the group of superficial people Marin surrounds herself with. She seems to want to move in a circle of party-loving people, in a world where the values of the rich and beautiful predominate. ... In Marin's mind, reporting on politicians should be limited to their public duties. ... She believes that the public sphere should function on her own terms and those of the decision-makers, and that the public should only see what Prime Minister Marin wants it to see. ... But this idea of hers is foreign to democracy.”

European Pravda (UA) /

A delicate balance

The Finnish Prime Minister's party video raises many questions, writes journalist Oleh Pavlyuk in European Pravda:

“What would happen if something happened to the Finnish prime minister during the party or she had to deal with an important national issue - especially considering that the country borders Russia, which is waging an all-out war against Ukraine? ... The Sanna Marin affair - and not just the latest one with the party - also raises another question: does a high-ranking state official have a duty to be shielded at all times? And does he or she also have the right to have lively feelings and emotions outside working hours?”

Kurier (AT) /

Politicians face exaggerated expectations

It's no wonder many states can no longer find qualified politicians, says Kurier commenting on the scandal:

“Why has this even been made public? Obviously because someone sees this as a way to harm the person concerned. The fact that something like this could have the desired effect says a lot about the exaggerated and contradictory expectations we project onto our politicians. ... All of this will lead to ever fewer highly qualified people being willing to enter politics - because they have little desire to be constantly in the glare of the public eye for a comparatively modest salary and to face never-ending accusations over alleged and actual misconduct.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Three cheers for the party girl!

The Daily Telegraph sees the fact that the prime minister is able to relax and enjoy herself as a good thing:

“Sanna Marin is a beautiful, svelte 36 year old, with a husband, a young daughter and a country to run. Surely she should be allowed to let off steam by tripping the light fantastic? ... Three cheers for party girl Sanna, showing it's entirely possible to simultaneously be a politician and a normal human being. Whatever the traditions and regardless of what her more conservative compatriots might claim, dancing to excess while toasting your youth is a helluva lot healthier than sitting at home, alone in your underwear, drinking.”

Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

Be less naïve

The fact that the videos were released to the public against Marin's will shows that she surrounds herself with people she cannot trust, Helsingin Sanomat criticises:

“Marin may have acted in good faith, but she should not be so gullible. What unites the people around Marin is not only the desire to party but also the desire for publicity. There could be more leaks. If not now, then at the next party. At this rate, Marin will always be just one scandal video away from political disaster. Marin has shown poor judgment by making her own reputation and the reputation of the prime minister's office dependent on people who should not be trusted.”

Polityka (PL) /

A mirror of society

Polityka examines how Finland, the United Kingdom, and Poland deal with scandals:

“One could say that scandals hold up a mirror to society. By forcing Johnson's resignation, the British public has put the brakes on political tendencies that are disturbingly reminiscent of the fascist elevation of power over law. In Finland, the public's refusal to make a scandal out of the prime minister's dancing testifies to moral progress. Against this background, one can only sigh at the fact that in Poland, by contrast, one scandal follows another, but unfortunately nothing comes of it.”