Finnish PM Sanna Marin cleared of misconduct over partying footage

An official inquiry has cleared Sanna Marin of misconduct after a leaked video showing the 36-year-old Finnish prime minister dancing exuberantly and drinking with friends and celebrities made headlines around the world.

Multiple complaints to the parliamentary ombudsman alleged that excessive alcohol consumption at the party in August would have made Marin, the world’s youngest head of government when she was elected in 2019, unable to carry out her official duties.

However, Finland’s chancellor of justice – an independent office responsible for overseeing the legality of ministers’ actions, to which any citizen can submit a complaint – concluded she had not neglected her responsibilities.

There was “no reason to suspect the prime minister of unlawful conduct in the performance of her duties, or of any neglect of her official responsibilities”, Tuomas Pöysti, the chancellor of justice, wrote in his ruling.

Complaints to the chancellor also claimed her behaviour was inappropriate for a prime minister and that she had undermined Finland’s “reputation and security”.

Pöysti said the complaints had not detailed which official duty the prime minister allegedly failed to fulfil, or which tasks she might have been unable to accomplish if called on to do so, and that he could only assess “concrete situations”.

At the time, Marin told reporters she was “upset” that the clips, which she knew were being filmed but had believed would remain private, had been leaked. “I spent the evening with my friends, partied, even in a rowdy way, danced and sang,” she said.

Amid unsubstantiated reports that drugs may have been consumed, she denied ever having taken any herself and took a test, which proved negative. “I am human. And I too sometimes long for joy, light and fun amidst these dark clouds,” she later said.

The chancellor also addressed complaints about a separate photograph taken at a party at the prime minister’s residence showing the model and influencer Sabina Särkkä and another woman – not Marin – kissing and lifting up their tops.

Pöysti said his responsibilities were confined to judging the legality of ministers’ actions and it was not his job to assess the “moral and social” dimensions of a prime minister’s leisure activities or the trust and confidence they enjoy.

Such questions are “a matter for parliament”, he said, adding that political accountability “is also weighed periodically in democratic elections”. The prime minister’s official residence may be used for private events, he said.

Marin’s critics and political opponents claimed her behaviour had been inappropriate, imprudent and irresponsible, saying her choice of friends showed a lack of judgment and leaked photos and videos could expose her to criticism or even blackmail.

Her many supporters – including women who posted videos of themselves dancing – defended her right to party. The prime minister herself said she hoped that “in 2022, it is accepted that even decision-makers get to dance, sing and go to parties”.

She said it would be up to voters in elections to assess whether her behaviour was “suitable from their point of view, and what they think about it”.

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