Finland's Sanna Marin to quit as party leader following election defeat

Social Democratic Party SDP chair and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin meets with the media at the Parliament in Helsinki, Finland, Wednesday, April 5, 2023.
Social Democratic Party SDP chair and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin meets with the media at the Parliament in Helsinki, Finland, Wednesday, April 5, 2023. Copyright AP Photo
By Euronews with AP
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Marin will still lead her party through negotiations on possibly being part of a new government, and stand down at the Social Democrats' autumn conference.

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Finland’s outgoing prime minister, Sanna Marin, says she will resign as leader of the Social Democratic Party said Wednesday that she will resign as the leader of her Social Democratic Party at the next party congress in the autumn, saying she hopes it will enable her “to open a new page in my own life.”

“Now is the time to get in line again and leave the chairman’s place,” Marin, 37, said during a news conference in Helsinki on Wednesday. She said she intends to continue as a lawmaker in Parliament.

The Social Democratic Party came in third in Sunday’s election, dashing Marin's hopes of staying on as prime minister. Finland’s main conservative party claimed victory in an extremely tight three-way race in which far-right populists took second place.

There was less than one percentage point separating the top three parties. 

Marin, who has been prime minister since 2019, is a highly popular figure internationally and at home, but acknowledged that her premiership had put a strain on her personally.

“My endurance has been put to the test,” she admitted.

Marin said her Cabinet has gone through some rough periods in the past years and the centre-left government has had to resort to difficult decisions. Marin has won praise, among other things, for steering Finland through the COVID-19 pandemic and championing the country's NATO bid together with President Sauli Niinistö, and for being a staunch supporter of Ukraine in its war with Russia.

Her private life and active social media usage have received a lot of international coverage during her premiership. Marin said she hopes to be able to live “a slightly more peaceful life” in the future.

“These have been exceptionally difficult years and difficult times,” Marin said, “Now that the election result is like this, I consider that I have the opportunity to open a new page in my own life.”

Marin's Cabinet will officially resign on Thursday. Talks to form a new government are to begin next week under the leadership of Petteri Orpo, the head of the National Coalition Party.

The Social Democrats would be open to being a part of the new government, too, Marin said. However, she ruled out the possibility of taking a ministerial post herself. The party congress of the Social Democrats takes place in September.

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