World's youngest female head of state Sanna Marin marries longtime partner Markus Räikkönen

World’s youngest female head of state Sanna Marin marries longtime partner Markus Räikkönen


There are not too many weddings happening right now, so it was hard to look past Finland this weekend, where Prime Minister Sanna Marin married her partner of 16 years, former Finnish soccer player Markus Räikkönen.

According to The Associated Press, the wedding was attended by 40 guests consisting of close friends and family. The 34 year old Prime Minister and her new husband have a 2-year-old daughter together, Emma Amalia Marin. 

In December 2019, Marin was elected as the youngest head of state, though that record has since been claimed by conservative Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. 

On her Instagram post, the Prime Minister thanked her all-female wedding team:

“Thank you also to the wonderful women who made our day unforgettable,” she wrote. “Thanks for capturing the wedding day, for the wedding portrait, for the bridal gown and the flowers.”

“I am happy and grateful that I get to share my life with the man I love. We have seen and experienced a lot together, shared joys and sorrows, and supported each other in the bottom and storm. We have lived together in our youth, grown up and grown older for our beloved daughter. Of all the people, you’re the right one for me. Thank you for being by my side.”

The newly-weds’ permanent home is in Tampere, a Kaleva district in Southern Finland. Since the beginning of the COVID-19  pandemic, they have lived at the Prime Minister’s official residence.

Marin leads the country’s centre-left Social Democrat party and has been heralded as a new breed of ‘Millennial’ leader. Notably, for her use of social media, environmental activism and gender-egalitarian policies have caught the world’s attention.

Earlier this year, she announced plans to give fathers the same amount of paid parental leave in a new policy that grants 164 days or nearly seven months paid leave to each parent, for a total of 14 months. A pregnant parent would get an additional one month’s paid leave before their parental leave starts. 

She has used social media influencers to spread important information through the internet and according to Politico, her country remains the only one in the world to have defined social media as “a critical operator.” In 2017, Marin frequently documented her own pregnancy on Instagram.

In June, she saw an 85 per cent approval rating among Finnish citizens. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Marin was praised by her exemplary leadership by implementing measures to curb rising infections and managing one of Europe’s lowest COVID-19 rates. She also ordered school closures, restrictions to museums and public gathering establishments, and the country’s borders. Other nations with the lowest rates of COVID-19, including Germany, Taiwan, New Zealand and Iceland, were all countries that are governed by female leaders.

In June, Finland invoked its emergency powers unveiling a €15 billion (AUD$23.6 billion) package to boost its economy. This week, Marin has released plans to conduct tests at the border, following the easing of travel restrictions. She has also set up a working group which began operating at the end of July to plan testing solutions for airports, harbours and the land borders with Sweden and Russia.

As of today, Finland’s population of just under 5.6 million has had 329 deaths and 7,453 cases. 

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