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Sanna Marin: Finland PM defends private life after party video criticism

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By David Mac Dougall
Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin speaks with the media as she arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Thursday, June 23, 2022.
Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin speaks with the media as she arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Thursday, June 23, 2022.   -   Copyright  AP Photo   -  

Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin has had to defend her private life after a video emerged of her enjoying a party with friends. 

In the video, Marin is shown in several scenes apparently at a private residence, hugging her friends, and singing and dancing along to Finnish pop music.

Among the other guests enjoying the party are Finnish chart-topper Alma, a member of parliament, a couple of radio show hosts and a celebrity stylist. 

"I have danced, sung, celebrated, done legal things," Marin told reporters on Thursday morning in Kuopio, a city on the eastern border near Russia, where her MPs are meeting for their annual summer conference. 

"I have a family life, a work life and also my free time, and I spend time with my friends", said Marin, who also mentioned her official security detail was stationed nearby when the party took place, although they weren't inside the event.

"I have nothing to conceal or hide," she said. 

It is not clear who leaked the video of Marin -- which seems to have been posted as an Instagram story and features clips taken at different times of the evening - although a shared video clip from at least one of the guests who attended is included in the montage. 

Marin said she has "nothing to hide or conceal" but said she felt bad the video had been shared. 

"I trusted that since the videos are private and taken at a private event, they would not be published."

Political foes demand that PM takes a drugs test

In Finland, Marin's political rivals have seized on the video to demand that the prime minister be screened for illegal narcotics, and then make the results public. 

This comes after some media outlets reported the Finnish slang word "jauhojengi" meaning "powder gang" -- an apparent reference to cocaine -- could be heard in the video clip. 

The leader of the far-right Finns Party and an MP from one of Marin's own coalition partners both called for her to be tested for drugs. 

However, they may have misheard or misinterpreted the words, and confused "jauhojengi" with "jallujengi" which is a reference to a popular type of Finnish brandy called Jaloviina. 

The Parliamentary Group chairperson of Marin's Social Democrats, Antti Lindtman, said on Thursday they have "full confidence in the prime minister, there is no doubt about that." 

"If you dance with friends at a private event, I can't see that there is a big problem," Lindtman said.

In December 2021 Marin apologised for visiting a Helsinki bar after coming into contact with another government minister who later tested positive for Coronavirus. 

She was criticised by political opponents but was ultimately not found to have broken any rules.