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Leonid Bershidsky

Europe's Young Leaders Are Bucking Politics as Usual

Finland’s 34-year-old prime minister is another politician who doesn’t fit into the left-right paradigm.

Sanna Marin, the new face of European politics.

Sanna Marin, the new face of European politics.

Photographer: Heikki Saukkomaa/AFP/Getty Images

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The emergence of 34-year-old Sanna Marin as Finland’s new prime minister is no fluke: In recent years, Europe has seen its leaders get younger as the new generation appears better at navigating increasingly complex political landscapes.

The average age of global leaders actually has increased since the 1950s, according to the Rulers, Elections and Irregular Government dataset, created by Curtis Bell from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. In Europe, though, it has been going down since the 1980s, falling significantly below the global average.