Finland Prime Minister Sanna Marin
Finland's prime minister takes drug test after videos show her partying
03:17 - Source: CNN

Editor’s Note: Marja Heinonen, a Finnish writer and author of several books, has more than three decades’ experience as a journalist, editor and researcher. She has also worked in academia and has a doctoral degree in communications. The views expressed here are her own. Read more opinion on CNN.

Tampere, Finland CNN  — 

It is the talk of Finland’s coffee shops, its iconic saunas and of newspaper headlines: What are people in this Nordic country to think about our Prime Minister Sanna Marin, after a viral video this month showed her dancing and singing with reckless abandon?

Video showed Marin, laughing, cavorting, hips swiveling – having frankly, what seemed to be the time of her life – at what she later told the press was a private party with friends. A second video circulated hours later showing the prime minister, who is married and the mother of a young child, dancing in the arms of a man not her husband.

Marja Heinonen

And on Tuesday, she felt compelled to apologize for photos posted online posts of two topless female house guests who had attended a party kissing each other last month at Marin’s official residence in Helsinki. Marin said that she was not personally involved in acts of intimacy with the women.

“We had (a) sauna, swam and spent time together,” Marin said. “That kind of a picture should not have been taken, but otherwise nothing extraordinary happened at the get-together,” she added.

It’s all in keeping with the “work hard, play harder” image that Marin has cultivated.

When she became prime minister in December 2019, Marin was just 34, one of the world’s youngest heads of state. She won over Finns with poise and professionalism that seemed to belie her years.

During her three-year tenure, she has managed to steer Finland capably through including the domestic the Covid-19 pandemic response and Moscow’s saber-rattling as Helsinki applied for NATO membership in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Marin has also proved a skilled operator in handling the more mundane aspects of running the country and navigating domestic politics, if opinion polls are to be believed, with poll numbers that have been as high as 80%, although late last year they hovered around the 50% mark.