State Structure and Political System of Finland

By | April 26, 2022

According to microedu, Finland is a democratic unitary legal state with a republican form of government. Four constitutional laws together make up the Constitution: Act on the form of government (adopted on July 17, 1919 – amendments and additions were made in 1926, 1930, 1943, 1955, 1992 and 2000), Act on the right of parliament to control the legality of the activities of the Council of State and the Chancellor of Justice 1922, Act on the Supreme Court (1922) and the Parliamentary Charter (1928). In accordance with the amendments to the constitutional acts of 2000, the country moved from a presidential to a parliamentary democracy.

According to the Electoral Act of 1998, elections of 4 levels were established: in Eduskunt – a unicameral parliament, presidential elections, elections to local authorities (446 communes) and elections of 16 deputies to the European Parliament (since 1999). The right to vote is granted to all citizens who have reached the age of 18.

Administratively, Finland is divided into 6 provinces, which are subdivided into counties.

The head of state is President Tarja Halonen (since February 2000), who is directly elected by the population for a term of 6 years (in 1919–94 elections were held in two stages). The President formally has broad powers.

The supreme legislative body – Eduskunt – is a unicameral parliament consisting of 200 deputies elected by the population for 4 years under the proportional representation system.

Head of the highest executive body – the State Council – Prime Minister, Prime Minister (Matti Vanhanen – Finland Center Party, since June 2003).

Local government in the lyani (provinces) is carried out by a board headed by a governor appointed by the president. The Åland Islands (province of Akhvenanma) were granted partial autonomy. Local self-government bodies in communes are city and rural communal councils elected for 4 years.

The judiciary includes the Supreme Court, whose members are appointed by the president for life; 4 courts of appeal and courts of 1st instance: city and district (in rural areas). There is also an administrative justice system.

The party-political system is close to the Scandinavian model, although here inter-party cooperation between right and left is uncharacteristic for neighbors. On the left flank is the Social Democratic Party of Finland (SDPF; Suomen Sosialidemokraattinen Puolue), the largest with 100,000 members. Two parties adjoin it – the Union of Left Forces (SLS) and the environmental party the League of Greens (LZ). After systemic changes in the USSR / RF in the 1980s – early. 90s, which caused another crisis in the ranks of the Finnish left, supporters of the Communist Party of Finland (KPF, Suomen Kommunistinen Puolue, founded August 29, 1918) and the Democratic Union of the People of Finland (DSNF, Suomen Kansan Demokraattinen Liitto, 1944) moved to the ranks of the left socialists who united in the SLS.

The center-right bloc consists of 4 major parties. The Finnish Center Party (FC, Keskustapuolue) was founded in 1906, until October 1965 it was called the Agrarian Union. The National Coalition Party (NKP, Kansallinen Kokoomus) was founded in 1918. The Swedish People’s Party (SNP, Svenska Folkspartiet Finland) was founded in 1906; the main national minority of the country traditionally votes for it. The Christian Democrats (CD) trace their lineage to the Christian Union formed in 1975.

At the regular parliamentary elections held on March 16, 2003, 70% of Finnish citizens took part (out of 4.2 million people in the country and 200 thousand abroad). The main themes of the campaign are social issues, although there was controversy over government policy towards Iraq. The question of the country’s possible membership in NATO did not become a central topic due to the awareness of the Finnish leadership of geopolitical realities and the unwillingness to create concern in the Russian Federation. The race for votes was between the ruling SDPF and the largest opposition federal center. As a result, the centrists outperformed their rivals and became the most popular party in the country, winning 55 seats. Achieve an increase of 7 deputies (24.7% of the vote, which is 2.3% more than than 4 years ago) the centrists were helped by the election program of the chairman of the Federal Center Anneli Jayatteenmäki called “A Lighter Alternative”. Although the Social Democrats received 0.2% less votes than the FC, they have 53 mandates, having increased their faction by 2 deputies. The NKP received 18.5% of the vote and 40 seats, which is 6 mandates less. As a result, the parliament was renewed by a third, a number of minor factions appeared, such as the exotic Real Finns party.

As a result of the elections in April 2003, a new coalition government was created, where there are “main opponents”: the SDPF, the SNP and the FC (a total of 84 deputies), headed by Anneli Jayatteenmäki (FC). In addition, for the first time in the country, both the president and the prime minister are women. The new government will have to rely on the informal support of the SLS, the LZ and the center parties.

The regrouping of party-political forces after the March 2003 elections did not affect the socio-economic course. All forces are in favor of maintaining the current model of the “welfare state”. The “sensitivity” of the Social Democrats to the proposals of the Finnish trade unions will obviously meet with active opposition from the right. Consensus remains on foreign policy issues, despite slight differences in the views of parliamentary parties on the extent of the country’s participation in the EU and on the issue of the country’s accession to NATO.

Finland Politics