PM's party at official residence presented no safety risk, security chief says

According to Yle sources, Prime Minister Sanna Marin invited about 20-30 guests back to her official residence after an event in Helsinki in September.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) has faced questions about a gathering of musicians, friends and acquaintances at her official Kesäranta residence in September.

The PM had attended a record release party at the Tavastia Club in Helsinki and afterwards invited about 20 to 30 people back to Kesäranta for an after-party. According to Yle sources, the identities of the guests were not checked by security staff on arrival.

However, Marin's security director told Yle that protocol is always followed when private events are held at the official residence, but did not wish to comment on the specifics of the party in September as that event pertained to the PM's private life.

"Protocols have always been followed. There are events in Kesäranta every day. We have agreed on the way to maintain these arrangements and their safety as required," the PM's Security Director Ahti Kurvinen told Yle.

Changing attitudes within party

According to Yle sources, the furore over the Kesäranta event comes as some within Marin's own party — the Social Democratic Party — are beginning to question the Prime Minister more closely.

Marin has been extremely popular within the SDP, due in particular to her handling of the Covid pandemic, but sources close to the party say they have noticed changes in attitudes as the Covid pandemic moves further down the political agenda.

Yle understands that Marin was questioned and openly criticised at a party meeting on 14 October about a recent dispute with governing coalition partner the Centre Party.

Marin had criticised Culture Minister Antti Kurvinen (Cen) for publishing a list of spending cuts even though he knew the government was planning to revisit them. At the party meeting, SDP members pushed the PM for answers on the Kurvinen dispute as well as issues related to state gambling monopoly Veikkaus and the reversal of the budget cuts.

A previous minor scandal involving Marin — "breakfastgate" — has also recently re-emerged after the Chancellor of Justice requested clarification from Marin about free meal benefits she had received at her official residence until earlier this year.