April 14. 2024. 6:24

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Sanna Marin’s resignation broadens government options

Outgoing Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s surprise announcement to resign from her position as the Chair of the Social Democrats – following her defeat in the elections – could broaden the composition of Finland’s possible future coalition.

In a press meeting on Wednesday, Marin cited personal reasons to justify why she decided to step back from her leadership role. Her tenure since December 2019 as the world’s youngest prime minister included the pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Finland’s accession process to NATO.

According to Marin, ”exceptionally difficult years and difficult times” have ”tested her stamina”, and the opportunity has come ”to turn a new page in my own life”.

Marin even turned down the possibility of running for president in next year’s elections but said she would continue as a backbench MP. Given her notoriety, she may even fare well in the European Parliament elections for 2024.

Following the 2 April elections, negotiations to form a coalition government are about to start, and Marin will still be the chief negotiator on behalf of the Social Democratic Party.

These talks will likely have a different vibe following her announcement.

Though she came third and could not secure the Left bloc’s victory as she had hoped, Marin only came in third and even angered her allies, the Left Alliance and especially the Greens.

Marin’s exit could thus open the window for a government across the left and right divide that could find a compromise over budget cuts and taxation.

Mentioned as possible successors are the more market-oriented European Affairs and Ownership Steering Minister Tytti Tuppurainen and Transport and Communications Minister Timo Harakka.

However, presumably, the strongest contender is the Chair of the SDP parliamentary group Antti Lindtman who narrowly lost to Marin last time around.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Lindtman said he would consider the situation over Easter and warned of putting ”the cart before the horse”.

Marin’s successor will be elected in the September party convention. Those aiming to run must let their intentions be known by the beginning of May.

(Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)