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Republic of Finland

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Politics and government of
Finland



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Elections in Finland gives information on election and election results in Finland.

On national level Finland elects a head of state — the President of the Republic — and a legislature. The president is elected for a six-year term by direct popular vote. The Parliament (in Finnish eduskunta, in Swedish riksdagen) has 200 members, elected for a four-year term by proportional representation in multi-seat constituencies. Finland has a multi-party system, with three strong parties (Social Democrats, Center, National Coalition), in which one party does not often have a chance of gaining power alone, and parties must work with each other to form coalition governments.

In addition to the presidential and parliamentary elections, there are European Parliament elections every five years, and local municipal elections every four years. Municipal elections are helt separately in the Municipalities of Åland at the same time as the election of the Parliament of Åland.

Contents

Presidential Elections

Main article: President of Finland

The president is elected by popular vote for a six-year term. An election was last held January 15, 2006 (second round on January 29, 2006). See Finnish presidential election, 2006.

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2000 Presidential election

SDP's winning candidate was Tarja Halonen. National Coalition's candidate Riitta Uosukainen was clearly left out of the second round, after Sauli Niinistö declined candidacy. Center Party's candidate Esko Aho qualified for the runoff, and was defeated by a one-percent margin in the runoff by Tarja Halonen.

Parliamentary Elections

Main article: Parliament of Finland

Finland's proportional representation system encourages a multitude of political parties and has resulted in many coalition-cabinets. The Prime Minister of Finland is appointed by the president, based on the vote in the parliamentary elections. Usually the chairman of the biggest party becomes the next prime minister.

In the parliamentary elections of 16 March 2003, there were two dominating parties: the Center Party (KESK) got 55 seats, and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) got 53 seats, in the 200-seat Eduskunta. A new cabinet was formed by Center and Social Democrats together with the Swedish People's Party.

In the parliamentary elections of 2007, the Center Party retained its lead at 51 seats, but the election was a major victory for the National Coalition, which got 50 seats, and a major loss to SDP, which got 45 seats, losing 8 seats. A new coalition cabinet, Vanhanen II, between Center, Coalition, Greens, and the Swedish People's Party was formed.

Åland legislative election

Main article: Parliament of Åland

Åland is a province that accounts for 0.5% of Finland's population, a total population of 27,210. The Åland Islands autonomous political status under the Act on Åland Autonomy gives the Parliament of Åland legislative powers over a number of areas. Aside from these issues, the state of Finland, represented by the Provincial Governor, is sovereign and residents vote in general parliamentary elections for one representative to the Finnish parliament.

Elections in Åland are held every four years at the same time as municipal elections are held in the Municipalities of Åland. A proportional representation system encourages a multitude of political parties and has resulted in many coalition cabinets. Åland has different political parties than continental Finland.

The Premier of the Government of Åland, Lantråd, is appointed by the speaker of the Parliament, based on the vote in the parliamentary elections. Usually the chairman of the biggest party becomes the next prime minister. In the parliamentary elections 21 October 2007 there were two dominating parties: the Liberals for Åland got 10 seats, and the Åland Centre got 8 seats, in the 30-seat Lagting. These parties then formed a new cabinet lead by Viveka Eriksson.

Municipal elections

Municipalities of Finland, that include cities and other (rural) municipalities, are the basic local administrative units of the country. Most of basic services are provided by the municipality, and are bound to do so by law. Municipalities have council-manager government, where the council (valtuusto) is the highest authority. Every four years, a council is elected.

Councils name a civil servant, the city manager or municipal manager, to conduct day-to-day administration of the municipality. In addition, councils name committees (lautakunta) and a municipal executive board (kunnanhallitus). Councils meet periodically and decide on major issues. The executive board prepares the bills and is responsible for the administration, finances and supervision of the interests of the municipality. Unlike in central government, executive boards usually consist of all parties represented in the council; there is no opposition.

2008 municipal elections

Although municipal elections are local only, and local results vary, they do function as a measure of the sentiments and party strengths also nationally. In the 2008 election, National Coalition was the most-voted party, with Social Democrats second and Center the third. Proportionally, the biggest winner were the True Finns, whose share of votes rose to 5.4% from 0.9% in 2004 municipal elections. The losers were the Social Democrats and the Center. Center's loss was especially significant because in Lapland, where it usually was the most powerful, its loss was the largest.

Elections in the European Union

Finland has participated in European parliament elections since joining European Union in 1995. The first finnish election was held in 1996.

See also

External links


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