On 2nd April 2023, Finnish people voted to elect 200 new members for the Finnish Parliament in Helsinki. But for Sanna Marin, the elections were a declaration of her ouster. Days before Finland was scheduled to join NATO, Prime Minister Sanna Marin lost the general election as a result of the economic and security repercussions of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
With almost all of the votes in, Petteri Orpo, the leader of the centre-right National Coalition Party, declared victory and won the elections with about 20.8% of the vote. With 19.9% of the vote, Ms Marin’s Social Democratic Party finished third, just behind the right-wing populist Finns Party, which received 20% of the vote for its best-ever performance.
The outcome, according to Mr Orpo, is “a strong mandate for Finnish politics.” Given that no party can command a majority on its own without governing allies. Now, Finland is heading into negotiations for a new coalition; Sanna Marin still has a chance to form the government, but that remains unlikely because Mr Orpo has won the larger mandate.
This defeat has left the Finnish Social Democrats dejected. Sanna Marin was undoubtedly a powerful PM for Finland in recent years. Many Finns praised her for helping the nation respond to Russia’s war in Ukraine and for guiding it through the pandemic as one of Europe’s least-affected countries.
These accomplishments led to widespread support among Finns for ending the nation’s decades-long nonalignment and moving towards NATO membership.
She was well-known abroad. But her popularity was waning at home. Her detractors had always been concerned about the nation’s debt growing under her administration.
The Sanna Marin Era!
Elected in 2019, Sanna Marin became the youngest PM in the world at the age of 34. Marin’s political career began in 2012 when she was elected to the City Council of Tampere, a city in southern Finland. She quickly gained popularity among the people due to her liberal views and dedication to social justice issues.
In 2015, she was elected to the Finnish Parliament and was appointed as the Minister of Transport and Communications in June 2019.
Later that year, the Social Democratic Party of Finland elected her as their leader, following the resignation of Antti Rinne. At the age of 34, she became the youngest serving Prime Minister in the world, as well as the third female Prime Minister in Finland’s history. Marin’s rise to power was met with international acclaim and attention, as she represented a new generation of leaders committed to progressive policies and social change.
Marin was the first PM of Finland who had a full cabinet of women in 2019. Reportedly, twelve of the nineteen new Finnish cabinet members are women, meaning Finland’s government has the second-highest percentage of female ministers in the world, after Spain.
Her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic has also been widely praised. Marin’s journey to the top inspired many, especially young women, to aspire to leadership roles in politics and other fields.
However, her policies and statements had also been in rounds of controversies. Several European leaders had consistently emphasised that Sanna Marin is setting up a dangerous precedent for Finland.
The unwanted ‘Europhilia’
Ever since Marin stormed into office, there had been warnings that Sanna Marin’s Europhilia could derail the country from its path.
Mart Helme, a former interior minister of Estonia, criticised Sanna Marin’s administration for its extreme pro-Europeanism and expressed concern that Sanna would undermine the nation’s sovereignty by turning it into a “euro province.”
With the possible exception of a few socialist adjustments to the already generous welfare system, Mrs. Marin was also more focused on implementing socio-cultural equality than on economic concerns, resulting in her being referred to as a “Cultural-Marxist.”
Whatever Mr. Helme stated in 2019 was accurate. Just a month ago, Finland declared that it would enter a mild recession in 2023. The country’s economy is anticipated to experience a mild recession in 2023, according to the Bank of Finland.
The GDP growth rate in Finland has never exceeded 3% since Marin took office. Finland experienced 1.2% growth in 2019, -2.2% in 2020, 3% in 2021, and just 1.7% in 2022.
Read More: Finland rejects NATO’s ambitions of creating a NATO Sea against Russia
The WEF angle and Zelensky’s friend!
Sanna Marin has also frequently been called a WEF agent. When Sanna Marin won the elections in 2019, WEF literally hopped in the air with joy because she was yet another politician who had received recognition from and training from Schwab’s school for young leaders.
Sanna Marin has also frequently been spotted in Davos discussing and debating WEF agendas while also participating in climate change debates alongside other companions like Trudeau and Ardern.
Sanna Marin was known for pushing the digital identification scheme and a digital certificate of vaccination and helped push the expansion of NATO.
But what exactly went wrong with her? How did she lose suddenly? Well, you see the touch of Zelensky is at play.
Under Marin, Finland came out as a strong supporter of NATO efforts in Ukraine ever since the Ukraine war began. Finland has provided a whopping EUR 930b to Ukraine in the form of humanitarian aid and development cooperation.
Whereas, Finland also allowed a large swath of Ukrainian migrants to enter Finland. She has also consistently emphasised the need to do whatever it takes to defeat Russia and help NATO win the war in Ukraine.
Just before the elections, Finland again emphasised that it will continue its military and war efforts in Ukraine. But, alas, this took a severe toll on the Finnish economy and people.
Read More: Ukrainian migrants become the sole cause of crime in Finland
And so, Sanna Marin, Finland’s Prime Minister, is all set to leave office, and her departure may bring about a power shift in the country’s political scene. And, as her replacement, a new centre-right government with nationalist tones will take over. Maybe now, Mrs. Marin can party hard without any controversy.
Marin’s excessive focus on her international reputation and western views left her country in limbo. As a result, the Finnish voters largely chose Conservative parties in the elections. With Marin’s departure, it remains unclear what the next government will look like, but it is certain that Social Democrats across Europe may face a difficult time if they do not address the concerns of their voters.
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