Finnish President Sauli Niinisto has accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Sanna Marin just days after the country became the 31st member of NATO, the president’s office has announced.
Marin submitted her request to step down during a meeting with Niinisto at the Mantyniemi presidential residence in Helsinki on Thursday.
The president asked her to continue in a caretaker role until a new government is formed, the statement read.
Marin’s resignation follows the defeat for her Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the parliamentary election last weekend. The SPD finished third in the vote, securing 43 seats out of 200 in the Finnish legislature.
The leader of the rightist National Coalition party, Petteri Orpo, is set to become the new prime minister, and will likely begin talks on forming a coalition government after the parliament convenes on April 14. He is expected to put together a new cabinet before a holiday in June.
Marin became prime minister in 2019 at the age of 34, making her the youngest person in Finnish history to head the government.
During her tenure, Finland applied to become a NATO member, citing concern over the conflict in Ukraine. It was officially accepted into the US-led military bloc on Tuesday.
“A new era as a NATO member begins for Finland,” the outgoing prime minister said of the development, insisting that the population had “acted in unison throughout this historic process.”
Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov warned that Helsinki’s new status would affect relations with Moscow, as NATO is “unfriendly and, in many ways, hostile to Russia.”
“We will apply countermeasures to ensure our security in a tactical and strategic sense,” he vowed.
Finland’s national debt has surpassed 70% of GDP since Marin took office as she prioritized funding for pensions and education programs, with polls identifying debt as among the main reasons for her election defeat.
Last summer, the prime minister also found herself in hot water after videos of her partying with Finnish celebrities surfaced online. Marin even underwent a drug test as people in one of the clips were reportedly filmed referencing cocaine. The results showed that she was clean.