Prime minister of Finland Sanna Marin holds a press conference in Helsinki, Finland, on August 19, 2022, after videos showing her partying and leaked into social media have sparked criticism. (Photo by Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva / AFP) / Finland OUT

Swinging hips and flirting with the camera: Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin has had to deal with the debate over a video for days in which the 36-year-old dances exuberantly with her friends.

The recording of a private party has been circulating on social media since Thursday, sparking controversy. On the one hand, there was criticism of the social democrat’s understanding of office and reference to possible breaches of duty.

On the other hand, Marin was protected: Even a head of government should celebrate vigorously. A second video, showing her dancing closely with a singer, caused further conversation over the weekend.

The prime minister spoke at length about the matter at a press conference in Helsinki on Friday. She countered speculation that she might have taken drugs by announcing that the results of a drug test that had already been carried out will be presented next week. “I’ve never done drugs in my life, not even as a teenager,” she said.

But the debate didn’t stop at the weekend either. The main focus was whether Marin violated her official duties by partying or undermined the credibility of the government. The leader of the small opposition Christian Democrat party, Sari Essayah, said there was concern that the prime minister’s behavior may have posed a threat to the security of the country or herself.

Among other things, it was criticized that Marin was no longer on vacation at the time in question and that no replacement was planned. However, Marin stated that he was always available and available in an emergency.

Marin’s coalition partner and leader of the Finnish Center Party, Finance Minister Annika Saarikko, described the videos as “a bit embarrassing”. They were certainly not meant to be seen by all Finns, she told public broadcaster Yle on Saturday.

But she doesn’t want to pose as the guardian of morality. It is important that important decision-makers are always accessible. The assurances that Marin have given in this regard are satisfactory, Saarikko said.

The political commentator Suvi Hautanen from the newspaper “Ilta-Sanomat” saw things differently. The Prime Minister is on duty 24/7 and must ensure that she is always able to take action and make decisions. According to Hautanen, that was questioned despite her protestations. The head of government had admitted that she had drunk alcohol – how much remained open.

The criticism of a second video that has been circulating since Friday and shows Marin in a club in Helsinki was even more moralizing. She dances on it with the Finnish singer Olavi Uusivirta (39). The two keep touching shoulders and hips.

For a brief moment, the musician leans forward as if to whisper something in her ear. Some wanted to see a kiss on the neck in it – even if that is not clear to see.

At Friday’s press conference, Marin dismissed all speculation. She doesn’t remember being kissed on the neck, the married politician said. She thinks Uusivirta wanted to tell her something.

Uusivirta also commented on Friday via Instagram. “All I can say is that we are friends and nothing inappropriate has happened between us,” he wrote.

There was support for Marin from Germany, among others: The German Greens politician Hannah Neumann published a video of a Greens federal party conference several years ago, at which people danced eagerly. At that time, four women stood on a gallery, who rocked to the beat and let their arms swing.

“Good girls go to heaven, rocking ones go everywhere,” writes the MEP. And explains “for everyone who doesn’t realize it” that Annalena Baerbock (today Foreign Minister), Franziska Brantner (now Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Economics) and Luise Amtsberg (today Human Rights Commissioner) danced with her in the gallery in 2018.

Many social media users complained about double standards towards the young Finnish politician. Some posted videos of male politicians also having themselves filmed dancing.