The Prime Minister of Finland, Sana Marin, once again made international headlines. This time a video of him has come out, in which he is seen dancing with friends at a private party. What happened after that is a traditional “Finnish scandal”, which is not really a scandal at all. However, Finland’s politics are so critical and a bit boring that only when you do a bit of it does it generate controversy. This case points to the very high ethical conduct that applies to politicians. At the same time, politicians are expected to follow this behavior and lead a life. As a result, leaders in Finland have to resign over minor incidents that are seen as too common elsewhere.
For example, in 2008, Finland’s then foreign minister, Ilka Kanerva, had to resign over a text message scandal. He was texting a controversial female celebrity. Sana Marine has also become the prime minister because of a ‘scandal’. In fact, before Sana, the prime minister of the country was Antti Rinne. He had to resign because of a scandal related to the postal strike. At that time Sana was the Minister of Transport and Communications.
Sana’a quickly rose to the top of Finnish politics after being elected head of the city council of her hometown of Tampere at the age of 27. Climbing one rung after another, she became the Prime Minister of the country in December 2019. At that time her age was only 34 years. She is the youngest Prime Minister of Finland and also the youngest head of government in the world. Since 2019, this women-led government has been making international headlines.
NATO’s Strategic Communications Center of Excellence conducted a study in 2021. It was found that a large number of objectionable messages are sent to female ministers in the Navy government. Marines themselves have often been embroiled in domestic “scandals.” For example, to post some special selfies on Instagram or about party-related events. For this reason, the media has also given it the name ‘Party Sana’.
Some of Sana’s famous “scandals” include “Breakfastgate” where there was a controversy over her breakfast expenses. A similar controversy had come to the fore regarding the cleaning she likes to clean herself. She even cleans her office by herself.
smell of misunderstanding
Many absurd domestic squabbles reek of misunderstanding as the Marines continue to lead Finland in extraordinary circumstances, brought on by the pandemic and now leading to joining NATO.
It is a big deal in itself that a 36-year-old woman can be a capable Prime Minister, a mother of a young child, find time to lead a social life despite being in the toughest job in the country, attend festivals . even party now and then.
Domestic “scandals” usually do not make international headlines. This time he was accused of drug use. The reason for this was that the video of the marine party was leaked. All the controversy arose because of a sentence heard there, which was mispronounced as “jauhozengi” (“floor gang”) and taken as “drug”.
In fact, Marine and her friends are seen singing the lyrics of a Finnish pop song in the video, which refers to the liquor ‘Jallu’ found in Finland. No one in Finland would call drugs “flower” anyway. Due to this, people will not be able to understand more about this business.
Misinformation spreads quickly
The incident quickly spread to the international media. Many foreign media also alleged that the word ‘cocaine’ was being spoken in the background.
Several opposition leaders criticized the prime minister. A party leader involved in the alliance also demanded a drug test. On August 19, his urine sample was sent for testing. His drug test report came back negative, and according to the statement issued by the Finnish government, no drugs were found. Along with this, it has also been reported that PM Marine himself has borne the cost of this investigation.
Speaking to the media about this matter, Marine said that a drug test has been done so that no one has doubts or misunderstandings about his behavior. He also said that he had a party with his friends over the weekend and then didn’t have a meeting.
The case also found support for the Marines internationally and nationally, and also shows how easily misinformation can spread like wildfire. It causes damage easily, but a lot needs to be done to improve the image.
Improving the image of an institution is a great challenge for the leader. Like what is the prime minister and who can he be. It was a similar challenge for the Marines as well. For someone holding the position of Prime Minister, this will hardly be the last Finnish scandal and it may be the last. It’s a good thing.
Minna Alander is Finland’s foreign and security policy analyst. She has worked at the German Institute of International Affairs (SWP) in Berlin and is about to return to her home country of Finland as a researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.