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Elections and campaign funding

Members of Parliament are elected every four years, on the third Sunday in April. Every Finnish citizen who is at least 18 years old on election day is eligible to vote in parliamentary elections.

The next parliamentary elections will be held on Sunday, 14 April 2019. In public elections the Ministry of Justice is the highest election authority. It coordinates preparatory work and is responsible for issuing instructions to other authorities.

Monitoring of election and party funding

The National Audit Office has monitored election funding since 1 May 2009 and party funding since 1 September 2010. From 2000 to April 2009 election funding disclosures were sent to municipalities' central election boards in local elections and to the Ministry of Justice in other elections.

The National Audit Office checks that all those who are  required to do so have filed an election funding disclosure as  prescribed in the Act on a Candidate's Election Funding. It publishes all disclosures without delay and if necessary can ask an individual to refile or supplement a disclosure or verify the correctness or completeness of information.

Once the election results have been confirmed, candidates who have been elected or designated as alternates must file disclosures. These must be sent to the National Audit Office within a period of two months.

Follow-up reports, which only apply to parliamentary elections and European Parliament elections, must be filed each calendar year during the electoral term that the disclosure obligation concerns. A candidate or support group having taken out a loan to cover campaign costs must file an annual follow-up report on the amount of the loan and any contribution of at least 1,500 euros made to repay the loan.

Who can become an MP?

A Member of Parliament must be at least 18 years of age and a Finnish citizen. There are two ways a person can be elected to Parliament: through a political party or a constituency association. The latter can be established by a group of at least one hundred eligible voters from the same electoral district. In Finland citizens vote not just for a party but for a particular candidate. People generally vote for someone who has similar values or has otherwise gained their confidence by promoting a cause they agree with. Candidates who are elected have generally gained support and made a name for themselves through work or organisational activities.

Parliamentary elections are held every four years, at which time MPs are elected in direct, proportional and secret ballots. Each citizen has one vote. Parliament does not arrange parliamentary elections itself; this task is performed by the Ministry of Justice.

About one-third of Members are not returned in an election. Some serve only one or two terms, but Parliament also has Members who have retained their seats for over thirty years.

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