One of the polling stations in the 2019 parliamentary election was the Library of Parliament. Photo: Parliament of Finland

Information package on civic engagement

In Finnish democracy, the constitution guarantees the freedom of the individual to participate in and influence the development of society and their living environment. Legislation regarding participation and elections is prepared by the Ministry of Justice.

In representational democracy, the power is assigned to representatives elected by the public. In this model, democracy is mainly a decision-making tool, whereas in participatory democracy, the active and open engagement of the citizens is fundamental to decision making.

However, things change, and there is always room for improvement. The purpose of civic engagement in society is to bring about change. This may be in legislation, practices in society or the economy. The objectives may be local, national or international.

Successful civic engagement is based on knowledge about how things are and how they can be changed. If you want to change the world or just one thing in it, it is important to ascertain the facts.


Text: Päivi Erkkilä, March 2015,  modified January 2021, e-mail:

Saatavilla myös: Kansalaisvaikuttamisen tietopaketti. Tiedä jotta vaikutat
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Read more about legislative drafting.

Different stages of law drafting and their sources of information.
Advocacy services at different stages of law drafting. Literature and online services.

Read more about forums for civic engagement.

You can influence in many ways.
Citizen initiatives, referendums, parties and NGOs, public debate, addresses, boycotts and demonstrations. Literature and online services.

Read more about elections and voting.

The foundation of representative democracy lies in elections, where we elect individuals from among the candidates to act as those in power for us. Parliamentary elections, municipal elections, presidential elections and European Parliament elections. Literature and online services.