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PoliticsWorldFinnish PM feels awkward but ready for drug test

Finnish PM feels awkward but ready for drug test

Unlike in Indian polity and journalism, a person in a public office apparently cannot enjoy a private life in the West. Or at least, she cannot cross a certain line — consume contraband, for instance. Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, after being caught off-guard dancing wildly at a party, has said she was angry that the footage, which prompted criticism from political opponents, was leaked to the media. Quite a few videos showed Marin, Finland's 36-year-old leader, dancing with friends in a private setting.

"These videos are private and filmed in a private space. I resent that these became known to the public," Marin told reporters in Kuopio, Finland. "I spent a night with my friends. We just partied, also in a boisterous way. I danced and sang," she said.

She defended her actions in comments to reporters: "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."

"I am going to be exactly the same person as I have been until now and I hope that it will be accepted," the Finnish prime minister said.

The videos show Marin and five others posing at a camera and dancing. Another clip appears to show Marin on the floor, singing toward the camera. It had prompted some of Marin's opponents to criticise her behaviour as unbecoming of a prime minister. Mikko Karna, an opposition MP, tweeted that Marin should undergo a drug test. Marin told reporters that alcohol was consumed but she was not aware of any drug use during the party. 

Supporters meanwhile have defended her and charged critics with applying a double standard. "Why can't she party after work? Do we expect our leaders not to be human beings?" tweeted Ashok Swain, a Professor of Peace and Conflict Research at Sweden's Uppsala University.

Sanna Marin: पार्टीमध्ये मद्यपान करून या महिला पंतप्रधानांनी केला झिंगाट  डान्स, व्हिडीओ व्हायरल - Marathi News | After drinking in the party, this Finland  Prime Minister did a ...

Marin has denied the leaking of the videos was part of a blackmailing scheme. "I am not being blackmailed. These are private videos and they were not supposed to be public," the prime minister said, adding that "they are filmed this summer and in a private home. I am not telling whose home it is."

It may be her public conduct during the peak of the China-origin Covid pandemic that is proving a baggage for the Finnish prime minister. She had apologised to the people in 2021 after a photo surfaced of her in a nightclub, following Finland's foreign minister testing positive for Covid-19. That night, her secretary of state called her with the news that Foreign Affairs Minister Pekka Haavisto tested positive. The prime minister proceeded to leave her government phone at home as she hit the town. 

Marin was with her husband, went to dinner, saw friends and "spent time in the evening and nightlife as well." It wasn't until the next day that Marin realized she had received additional instructions on her work phone to avoid contact with other people and get tested for Covid.

"I did wrong. I should have considered the situation more carefully," Marin said in a television interview by public broadcaster Yle at the time.

But she also said she was an "individual, a person, a real person also, even though I'm a prime minister. So, I won't change the way I behave. Of course, I have to be careful what I say because it can be represented as the whole government, but I'm still a person and I will be in the future also."

Finally, the Finnish prime minister said yesterday she would have no problem with taking a drug test. While alcohol was consumed at the party, the prime minister conceded, she denied taking drugs or witnessing drug use by any attendee, which is what opposition leader Mikko Karna had accused her of.

Finnish PM Sanna Marin

"I have nothing to hide. I have not used drugs and therefore I have no problem taking tests," Marin told reporters last evening. She said further that she was "spending an evening with friends" and that the videos were "filmed in private premises".

The Social Democratic Party of Finland, of which Sanna Marin is a leader, maintains that it "can't see any major problem with dancing at a private event with friends". Meanwhile, the opposition party leaders have termed her actions "irresponsible" and "inappropriate behaviour for a prime minister".

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