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National elections in Finland comprise the parliamentary election, the Presidential election, municipal elections and the European election. In addition, consultative referendums may be organised nationally and locally.
In Finland, people hold the power, and the power is represented by the Finnish Parliament. Every fourth year, on the third Sunday in April, 200 Members of Parliament are elected in a direct, proportional and secret vote. The number of representatives elected from each electoral district is in proportion to the population of the electoral district. In the electoral district of Åland, one representative is always elected.
By voting in the parliamentary election, you can contribute to, for example
as the Parliament legislates, decides on the State Budget, appoints the Prime Minister, oversees government activities, plays a role in decision making on EU affairs and approves the major treaties that obligate Finland.
Every Finnish citizen who has reached the age of 18 can vote in the parliamentary election, regardless of their place of residence.
Parliamentary election candidates can be nominated by registered political parties and constituency associations established by at least 100 persons entitled to vote. Each party can nominate a maximum of 14 candidates in each electoral district or, if more than 14 candidates are elected from an electoral district, the number of candidates may be, at most, the number of candidates elected from that electoral district. Political parties have the right to form electoral alliances. However, the total number of candidates nominated by electoral alliances may not exceed that of a single party.
Everyone who is not legally incompetent or under the care of a guardian is eligible to vote in the parliamentary election. However, a person holding a military staff position cannot be elected as a Member of Parliament.
Representatives for the councils of the municipalities are elected in the municipal election. The Council decides on the number of elected representative, but the maximum number is provided in the Finnish Local Government Act. The municipal elections are carried out every four years on the third Sunday of April.
By voting in the municipal election, you can contribute to, for example
Finnish citizens, citizens of EU Member States as well as Iceland and Norway who have reached the age of 18 not later than on the election day are entitled to vote in municipal elections and referendums. Foreign citizens who have resided permanently in Finland for more than two years can also vote. In addition, a person employed by the European Union or an international organisation may vote in the municipal election. Only people residing in the municipality in question have the right to vote. Therefore, for example, Finns living permanently outside Finland (Finnish expatriates) are not entitled to vote in municipal elections although they are Finnish citizens.
Municipal election candidates can be nominated by registered political parties and constituency associations established by at least 10 persons entitled to vote. Each party can nominate at most one and a half times as many candidates as there are places for elected representatives. For example, if a municipality has places for 27 elected representatives, a party may nominate a maximum of 40 candidates. Political parties have the right to form electoral alliances. However, the total number of candidates nominated by electoral alliances may not exceed that of a single party.
A person whose home municipality is the municipality in question, who has the right to vote in the municipal election of any municipality and who is not under the care of a guardian is eligible to stand as a candidate in municipal elections.
The President of the Republic is elected by a direct popular vote. The President must be a native-born Finnish citizen. All Finnish citizens who have reached the age of 18 not later than on the election day are entitled to vote regardless of their place of residence.
Candidates may be nominated in Presidential election by a political party, from whose list of candidates at least one representative was elected in the most recent parliamentary elections, or by at least 20,000 persons entitled to vote, who have established a constituency association. A political party or a constituency association may nominate only one candidate. The electoral district comprises the entire country of Finland. Each party elects their candidate in a manner determined by their own procedures. Political parties and constituency associations may nominate the same candidate.
The candidate must be a native-born Finnish citizen.
The President of the Republic is elected by a direct popular vote, if necessary in two rounds. The election day is the fourth Sunday of January in the election year. In the event that one of the candidates secures a simple majority of (approved) votes in this election (the first round), they will be appointed president. If this is not the case, a second round of election will be carried out on the Sunday two weeks later between the two candidates who received the most votes in the first round. The candidate who receives a simple majority of votes in the second round will be appointed president.
The term of office for the President of the Republic is six years. The same person can be elected president for no more than two consecutive terms of office.
The President of the Republic runs Finnish foreign policy in cooperation with the Government. The tasks of the President of the Republic also include the ratification of laws approved by the Parliament and acting as the Commander-in-Chief of the Finnish Defence Forces.
The European Parliament (EP) is one of the legislative bodies of the EU. European citizens elect the EP members through direct election which is arranged every five years in all Member States.
In the European election, a total of 705 members are elected to the European Parliament from the 27 Member States, 14 of whom are elected from Finland. By voting in the European election, you can contribute to the kind of Europe you wish to live in, whether in terms of employment, travel, agriculture, fishery, foreign and security policy or the environment.
The European Parliament
MEPs form parliamentary groups based on political views, not based on nationalities.
All Finnish citizens who have reached the age of 18 not later than on the election day are entitled to vote in the European election. Citizens of other EU Member States, who have reached the age of 18 not later than on the election day and have at least 80 days before the election date registered themselves with Finland’s voting register maintained by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency’s and have their place of residence in Finland 51 days before the election date, have the right to vote. A person who is employed by the European Union or an international organisation or is a family member of such a person residing in Finland has the right to vote in the European election.
In the European election, each party, electoral alliance or joint electoral list can nominate a maximum of 20 candidates in each country. The electoral district comprises the entire country of Finland. All Finnish citizens, who have the right to vote in elections and are not legally incompetent, and all EU Member State citizens entitled to vote, who has registered with and accepted in Finland’s voting register and have not lost their right to stand in elections in their home state, are eligible to stand as a candidate.