By JAN M. OLSEN Associated Press
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Finland’s prime minister has apologized after a photo was released showing two women kissing and posing topless at the country’s leader’s official summer residence.
The photo came out after a video showing Prime Minister Sanna Marin dancing and singing with friends sparked debate over whether the 36-year-old prime minister had the right to party hard.
Marin confirmed the photo was taken in a bathroom at an official residence of Finland’s prime ministers following a music festival in early July. Marin does not appear in the image; the two women shown have their breasts covered with a sign reading “Finland”.
One of the women, described as a social media influencer, allegedly posted the photo, which was deleted shortly after the media started reporting on it.
“In my opinion, this photo is not appropriate, I apologize. This photo should not have been taken,” Marin said on Tuesday, according to Finnish TV channel YLE.
She said the post-festival gathering was a private party and the names of all guests were provided to the security service that monitors the Kesäranta property, located in the northern part of Helsinki.
The two-story wooden villa from 1873 includes a seaside sauna, pavilion, jetty and tennis court.
“We used the sauna facilities and the garden, but we didn’t spend any time inside the Kesäranta house, even though the downstairs guest toilet was in use,” Marin said, according to YLE.
The Prime Minister addressed a crowd in the southern Finnish town of Lathi on Wednesday and mentioned glimpses of his private life that have become public.
“I am human too,” Finnish media quoted Marin as saying with a cracked voice and red eyes. She added that she had never missed a single work task because she was absent.
” I do my job. I’m learning from that,” Marin said. “This week hasn’t been easy. It’s been tough. But I want to believe that people look at the work we do, not what we do in our free time.
In the video leaked last week, Marin appeared with friends at another private party. She acknowledged that she and her friends celebrated in a “loud” way and that alcohol – but, to her knowledge, no drugs – was involved.
Marin said she had attended the party for the past few weeks, but declined to say exactly where or when. She said on Friday that she had taken a drug test to end speculation about illegal substance use. The results were negative, Marin reported Monday, adding that she paid for the test herself.
One of Finland’s leading newspapers, Helsingin Sanomat, reported that with general elections due next year, frustration is growing among members of the prime minister’s Social Democratic Party.
Although no one is talking about pressuring Marin to resign and remain popular in the party, some members interviewed by the newspaper criticized her judgment amid the war in Ukraine and the impending candidacy of the Finland to join NATO.
Party member Helsingin Sanomat, quoted anonymously, noted that Finland is still a relatively conservative country, especially outside the capital region.
Marin leads a five-party coalition government, and she has been hailed for steadfastly guiding the country through the COVID-19 pandemic and the NATO bid process.
By JAN M. OLSEN Associated Press