/Sanna Marin, youngest PM called sales girl by 70-year-old politician – Business Insider

Sanna Marin, youngest PM called sales girl by 70-year-old politician – Business Insider

Estonia has issued a public apology after a 70-year-old minister described the prime minister of Finland, Sanna Marin, as a “sales girl” in a radio interview.

The comments were made by Mart Helme, Estonia’s interior minister who leads the far-right party EKRE.

“Now we see how one sales girl has become a prime minister and how some other street activists and non-educated people have also joined the cabinet,” Helme said during his party’s talk show on Sunday.

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid issued an apology on her country’s behalf over the inflammatory comments, saying she was “embarrassed” by them, according to Reuters.

Estonian pm Kersti Kaljulaid .JPG

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid at the GovTech Summit 2019 in Paris on Saturday.
REUTES/Gonzalo Fuentes

Marin became the world’s youngest prime minister at just 34 years old last Tuesday when she was chosen to lead her party, the Social Democrats, who have the largest number of seats in the Finnish coalition government.

The Finnish prime minister is from a working-class background, was the first person in her family to attend university, and worked as a sales assistant during her studies. 

Responding to Helme’s comments, Marin said she was “extremely proud” that in Finland “a poor family’s child can educate themselves and achieve their goals in life,” continuing: “A cashier can become even a prime minister.”

Estonia and Finland are long-standing allies and generally enjoy warm diplomatic relations, though it remains to be seen what effects Helme’s attack against Marin might have.

“How long-lasting or serious the damage will be depend on what happens after these comments,” Kristi Raik, the director of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute, told the Financial Times.

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