Finland picks world's youngest PM, women-led cabinet

Finland’s new prime minister - the world’s youngest premier - will have a finance minister two years her junior in a new women-led coalition cabinet after a political shake-up, party officials said on Monday. Sanna Marin, 34 from the dominant Social Democrats, was nominated on Sunday. Centre Party chief Katri Kulmuni, 32, will get the finance post when the full new cabinet is announced this week, party members said.

Finland’s government resigned last week after the Center Party said it had lost confidence in Social Democrat Prime Minister Antti Rinne over his handling of a postal strike. The five parties in power - four of them led by women - decided to stay in coalition and continue with the same programs, but said there would be a reshuffle.

“We want to make the axis between the prime minister and the finance minister work,” Kulmuni said. “That is the foundation for this new generation of collaboration (between the Social Democrats and the Centre Party),” she added.

There was no immediate comment from Marin, the former transport minister. She has had a swift rise in Finnish politics since becoming head of the city council of her industrial hometown of Tampere at the age of 27. She will take over in the middle of a wave of strikes, which will halt production at some of Finland’s largest companies from Monday. The Confederation of Finnish Industries estimates the strikes will cost the companies a combined €500 million ($550 million) in lost revenue.

Kulmuni, who previously held the more junior position of Minister of Economic Affairs, replaces Mika Lintila. She took over as the head of the Center Party from ex-prime minister Juha Sipila in September.

Green Party leader Maria Ohisalo, 34, will continue as interior minister, the Left Alliance’s chairwoman Li Andersson, 32, as education minister and the Swedish People’s Party’s Anna-Maja Henriksson, 55, as justice minister. Rinne will remain the Social Democrats leader at least until he chairs the party’s conference in June.

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