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Finnish PM takes drug test after party video

August 19, 2022

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin says she has never used drugs and took a test as criticism mounts after footage was posted of her at private parties. Online, many people expressed support for Marin.

Prime minister of Finland Sanna Marin holds a press conference in Helsinki
Marin says spends her free time with friends just like others her age Image: Roni Rekomaa/Lehtikuva/AFP/Getty Images

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Friday that she took a drug test in the wake of leaked footage showing her partying with friends.

"I have today taken a drug test, and the results will come within a week," she told reporters.

"Never in my life have I used drugs," she added.

As the videos circulated online this week, politicians in her government coalition and the opposition called on Marin to take a drug test.

"The people are also allowed to expect this from their prime minister," said Mikko Karna, a member of Parliament from the Centre Party.

No drugs, just lots of dancing 

The clips posted to Instagram show Marin dancing and singing along to Finnish pop music at a private residence before visiting two bars.

"I'm disappointed that it has become public. I spent the evening with friends. Partied, pretty wild, yes. Danced and sang," she was quoted Thursday as saying by Finnish broadcaster YLE.

She said she drank alcohol at the party, but said she did not take drugs.

"I didn't take drugs or consume anything except alcohol. I danced, sang and partied — completely legal things," she said when the videos came to light. 

On Friday, she said her ability to perform her duties remained unimpaired during the night in question and that she would have left the party had she been required to work.

Public defends Marin's right to enjoy a private life

Reactions to the video on social media have largely been supportive of Marin, her image and her right to have a personal life. Some users pointed out that prime ministers in other countries have resigned over corruption, violations of the constitution or failure in leadership and that dancing isn't a crime.

Users also reshared videos of other politicians dancing and partying, pointing out that the generally older and male politicians did not have to face criticism for their actions. 

Antti Lindtman, head of Marin's Social Democratic Party's parliamentary group, said she "can't see any major problem with dancing at a private event with friends."

It isn't the first time Marin has been criticized for her out-of-office activities. She made a public apology after going out clubbing without her work phone hence failing to be informed that she had been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive person.

In July, Marin attended a popular Finnish rock festival, sparking another debate among critics and fans.

Marin was the world's youngest national leader when she was elected in 2019, and she insists that she spends her free time with friends just like other people her age and that she intends to continue being the same person as before.

"I hope that's accepted. We live in a democracy, and in elections, everyone can decide these issues," she said.

In January, she told the Reuters news agency she and her fellow young female ministers have been targeted with extensive hate speech for their gender and appearance while in office.

lo/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)