Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin has been cleared of allegations claiming she has been neglecting her duties. After a video of her dancing with her friends at a party surfaced, several people filed complaints accusing her of damaging Finland’s “reputation and security”. However, Chancellor of Justice Tuomas Poysti concluded that the video does not prove she neglected her duties as the country’s Prime Minister.
BBC quoted him post the official inquiry, stating that there was “no reason to suspect the prime minister of unlawful conduct in the performance of her duties or of neglect of her official duties”. Marin also underwent drug tests to shut down suspicion, which came back negative.
Marin has often faced criticism for her social life – be it photographs of her at private parties or attending a music festival. At 36, she is the world’s youngest serving Prime Minister. She does not fit into the stereotype of a head of state, who is significantly older in many countries. Current US President Joe Biden (78) is the oldest person to hold this position in the country. Marin’s controversy raises several questions about what ‘misconduct’ truly means for a head of state.
A lot of this has to do with relatability, and the criteria voters look at while picking a canditate. According to a poll conducted by the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, young voters trust younger leaders to be in power. Sanna Marin represents Finland’s youth – a demographic that does not necessarily see partying as inappropriate conduct on the part of their Prime Minister. In the days after the video leaked, several young women showed solidarity by posting videos of themselves dancing on social media.
Hillary Clinton also came out in support of Marin, sharing a photo of herself dancing on Twitter.
As Ann Richards said, "Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels."
Here's me in Cartagena while I was there for a meeting as Secretary of State.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 28, 2022
Marin’s situation bears resemblance to a similar controvery concerning US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In 2019, a nine-year-old video of her dancing with her peers at Boston University went viral in an attempt to discredit her. However, it backfired, and hoards of Americans came out in support of her. Her popularity as a leader representing youth interests continued to surge despite the video, and it seems the same is happening with Sanna Marin.