What the World Would be Like If More Leaders Partied Like Finland’s Prime Minister
Tampere, Finland (CNN)It is the talk of Finland’s coffee shops, its iconic saunas and of newspaper headlines: What are people in this Nordic country to think about our Prime Minister Sanna Marin, after a viral video this month showed her dancing and singing with reckless abandon?Video showed Marin, laughing, cavorting, hips swiveling — having frankly, what seemed to be the time of her life — at what she later told the press was a private party with friends.
The second video, which was posted hours later, showed the married prime minister and mother of a young son, moving in the arms not of her husband.
On Tuesday, Marin felt obliged to apologize for the photos of topless houseguests who were seen kissing at Marin’s Helsinki official residence last month.
Marin claimed that she had not been involved in the acts of intimacy between the women.
“We had (a) sauna, swam and spent time together,” Marin said.
She said, “That type of picture shouldn’t have been taken.
But otherwise, nothing exceptional happened at the get together.” It’s all in keeping with the “work hard, play harder” image that Marin has cultivated.
When she became prime minister in December 2019, Marin was just 34, one of the world’s youngest heads of state.
Her professionalism and poise proved to be a testament to her youth, winning over Finns.
During her three-year tenure, she has managed to steer Finland capably through including the domestic the Covid-19 pandemic response and Moscow’s saber-rattling as Helsinki applied for NATO membership in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Marin has also proved a skilled operator in handling the more mundane aspects of running the country and navigating domestic politics, if opinion polls are to be believed, with poll numbers that have been as high as 80%, although late last year they hovered around the 50% mark.
Her goal when she was elected to the office was to promote a more egalitarian culture in politics.
She has since become a popular figure on international stages.
Germany’s Bild magazine called her “the coolest politician” and she is still attracting attention.
“But the zealousness with which Marin has pursued night life got her into trouble last year, when a photo surfaced of her dancing at a crowded club in the midst of the Covid outbreak, despite having been exposed the previous day to another cabinet minister who had been diagnosed with Covid.
Marin admitted that her poor judgement in failing to adhere to health protocols required that she be isolated from the general public was a result of the Covid outbreak.
I did not do the right thing.
She said that she should have listened to the circumstances more closely in a TV interview following the incident.
Then there was the famous photo shoot.
She wore a blazer, but not a blouse, in a photo spread for a magazine shortly after she assumed her post as prime minister.
This scandalized critics both at home and overseas.
Marin has had strong support from her supporters.
In response to that controversy, women across Finland — and in some other countries, too — posted pictures of themselves online in similar states of undress, with the hashtag #imwithsanna.
Finns can now see the “boisterous partying” that Marin has made a name for, which they are able to view with their own eyes.
Marin danced and hip-thrust for the camera in the online video.
Marin revealed that she had been to the party recently, but refused to reveal where and when.
Marin stated that “I hope it’s accepted in 2022 that even decision makers dance, sing and party,” she told reporters.
Marin said that he didn’t want any photos to spread.
But it is up to voters to determine their opinions.
“The controversy has led a few critics to question whether the exuberant display was behavior befitting a head of government.
But most of the criticism has been of the “who’s minding the store?” variety.
Finns were discussing what might have happened if their prime minister had gone off to some unknown place.
Marin raised the subject in remarks she made to the media last week.
She stated that her “full work capacity” had been maintained even though she was out partying.
My friends and I had a great night.
We just partied, also in a boisterous way.
She said that she danced and sang.
Political opponents raised the possibility that illegal drugs were used during the party.
She submitted to a drug screening, which was released on Monday.
Just like the scandal over Marin’s risque photo spread a few years back, many women are now posting dance videos online to show their support for Marin.
Some include #solidaritywithsanna, others with the hashtag #istandwithsanna.
While not all of us are posting dance videos, “stand with Sanna” seems to be the consensus view among Finns.
Most of us are unbothered, many of us even amused, by the uproar.
Basically, most Finns have her back — at least so far.
Many people believed that her tenure as prime minister was short-lived.
They thought, somewhat dismissively at first, that the young lady would struggle to compete in the tough-and-tumble politics.
These were dominated historically by gray-haired, grizzled men.
The critics were mistaken.
Yes, she is young, compared to the men who have held the post before her.
However, she’s also competent and serious (except at private parties that have cell-phone video camera recording).
People here don’t condemn her dancing.
They see her more as a role model in balancing work and family life.
She has shown us that politicians can enjoy the ordinary pleasures of life.
You can relax a bit.
And if they can do it, the rest of us can as well.
Although she may be seen as an age-appropriate, harmless dancer in Finland, we are not able to condemn her for her latest troubles.
There are valid questions about her ability to deal with a possible work emergency.
You can’t plan for emergencies.
Marin was not photographed surreptitiously.
Later, she stated that the videos were intended only for her personal use.
She had trusted her friends not to distribute them to a wider audience.
That is where I personally find the biggest reason to fault her: That degree of naivete is worrisome in any politician.
As a government official you can dance in front of the camera and share those images on an internet account that has nearly 100 members — which was the case for Marin’s video.
You have to assume the photos will become public.
Marin is still supported by the public, but it is difficult to predict what her career will look like in the future.
This week, only 21% said she is too partying and 42% agreed that the prime minister should have the freedom to unwind and be happy in her spare time.
Only 39% said the video doesn’t reflect how they see the prime minister.
Marin’s lack of good judgment and naivete has led us to this ridiculous contretemps, which will eventually blow over.
However, she would rather deal with government affairs.
She has to release her drug testing results, and explain the details of her social life the rest of the world..
Adapted from CNN News