Finnish PM defends dancing, takes drug test to clear herself

COPENHAGEN. Denmark (AP) — Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin said Friday she has taken a drug test “for her own legal protection” after a video was leaked of her dancing and lip-syncing songs at a private party. Marin defended her actions, saying she drank alcohol with friends but did not do any drugs.

A video posted on social media Thursday shows six people at a party dancing and lip-syncing a song, including Marin. Later in the video, the 36-year-old prime minister is on her knees dancing while lip-syncing.

“I have taken a drug test for my own legal protection, the results of which will come in about a week,” Marin told a news conference Friday, according to the Hufvudstadsbladet newspaper.

Speaking in English, Marin, the Nordic country’s youngest-ever prime minister, said she didn’t have any government meetings that weekend and “I had some time off and I spent it with my friends. And I didn’t do anything illegal.”

It was unclear when the party was held.

But the video was posted online after Finland on Wednesday decided to limit the number of visas issued to Russians beginning Sept. 1, amid a rush of Russian tourists bound for Europe. Normally there’s about 1,000 visa application appointments in Russia each day, according to the Finnish government, but that number will soon be limited to 500 a day.

Finland, Estonia and other EU countries bordering Russia have been pushing for an EU-wide ban on Russian tourists, but other EU leaders, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, have dismissed the idea as counterproductive.

Despite bans on air travel from Russia to the European Union, Russians have been able to vacation in western Europe this summer by traveling by land through neighboring countries with tourist visas that are valid throughout Europe’s border-free travel zone.

According to the newspaper, Marin told reporters Friday that “it should be accepted that even decision-makers are dancing, singing and partying” at times. She added “it’s up to the voters (to decide) what they think about it.”

Parliamentary elections in Finland are held every four years and the last one was held in April 2019.

Critics have noted that Finland, which shares a 1,340-kilometer (832-mile) land border with Russia, faces high electricity prices among other serious fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The country recently dropped its long-neutral stance and asked to join NATO.

Marin has said previously that she will continue to have a personal life despite her job. In July, she attended a popular Finnish rock festival.

In December she apologized after going out clubbing until 4 a.m. without her work phone, hence failing to be informed that she had been in close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19. She didn’t test positive.

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