Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin made history in 2019 by becoming the country’s youngest prime minister ever. Now, it’s her ability to throw down some serious dance moves that has drawn both admiration and criticism.
Leaked videos posted on social media earlier this week showing 36-year-old Marin dancing at what appears to be a private party with friends has led to controversy. People in the videos, which were posted on Instagram stories, can be heard shouting about cocaine, according to Finnish media, the Associated Press reported. Marin said the video was filmed “a few weeks ago,” The Guardian reported.
Opposition party members have called for Marin to take a drug test and release the results publicly, suggesting that her actions are inappropriate for a prime minister. Opposition party leader Riikka Purra said there was a “shadow of doubt” over her actions.
At a press conference Thursday, Marin said she had not used drugs or drunk heavily at the party. “I have danced, sung, celebrated, done legal things,” she said.
Marin added that she was disappointed the videos had been shared. “I trusted that since the videos are private and published at a private event, they would not be published,” Marin said. “It feels bad that they have been published.”
She also said she doesn’t see a need to change her behavior. “I am going to be exactly the same person as I have been until now and I hope that it will be accepted,” the Prime Minister said.
Finnish television presenter Aleksi Valavuori criticized Marin’s actions as seen in the video, saying that it portrayed the leader’s incompetence.
But many on social media are also defending Marin’s right to party, arguing that scrutiny over her actions is sexist and misguided.
This is not the first time Marin’s social activities have come under fire. Critics had accused Marin of being negligent about COVID precautions last December for partying shortly after her colleague tested positive for the coronavirus. (The Prime Minister didn’t break any rules. At the time Finland did not require vaccinated individuals to isolate after being exposed to someone who tests positive for the virus.) She also apologized, saying that she did not have her official phone with her and missed a text message advising her to self-isolate.
Marin has often been in the spotlight for her decision to attend parties and music festivals. She has hit back by telling others, “I have a family life, I have a work life and I have free time to spend with my friends. Pretty much the same as many people my age,” the BBC reported.