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Finland Government
 
 
 

General

Finland has a semi-presidential system with parliamentarism. The president is responsible for foreign policy outside of the European Union in cooperation with the cabinet (the Finnish Council of State) where most executive power lies, headed by the Prime Minister. Responsibility for forming the cabinet is granted to a person nominated by the President and approved of by the Parliament. This person also becomes Prime Minister after formal appointment by the President. Any minister and the cabinet as a whole, however, must have continuing trust of the parliament and may be voted out, resign or be replaced. The Council of State is made up of the Prime Minister and the ministers for the various departments of the central government as well as an ex-officio member, the Chancellor of Justice.

The 200-member unicameral parliament is called the Eduskunta (Finnish) or Riksdag (Swedish). It is the supreme legislative authority in Finland. The parliament may alter the Constitution of Finland, bring about the resignation of the Council of State, and override presidential vetoes. Its acts are not subject to judicial review. Legislation may be initiated by the Council of State, or one of the Eduskunta members, who are elected for a four-year term on the basis of proportional representation through open list multi-member districts. Administratively the country is divided into six provinces.

The judicial system of Finland is divided between courts with regular civil and criminal jurisdiction and administrative courts with responsibility for litigation between the individuals and the administrative organs of the state and the communities. Finnish law is codified and based on Swedish law and in a wider sense, civil law or Roman law. Its court system consists of local courts, regional appellate courts, and the Supreme Court. The administrative branch of justice consists of administrative courts and the Supreme Administrative Court. In addition to the regular courts, there are a few special courts in certain branches of administration. There is also a High Court of Impeachment for criminal charges (for an offence in office) against the President of the Republic, the justices of the supreme courts, members of the Council of State, the Chancellor of Justice and the Ombudsman of Parliament.

The parliament has, since equal and common suffrage was introduced in 1906, been dominated by secular Conservatives, the Centre Party (former Agrarian Union), and Social Democrats, which have approximately equal support, and represent 65-80% of voters. After 1944 Communists were a factor to consider for a few decades. The relative strengths of the parties vary only slightly in the elections due to the proportional election from multi-member districts but there are some visible long-term trends.

Like the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, Finland has no constitutional court, and courts may not strike down laws or pronounce on their constitutionality. In principle, the constitutionality of laws in Finland is verified by a simple vote in the parliament. However, the constitutional committee in the parliament reviews legistlation during the lawmaking process, and thus performs a similar role.

According to Transparency International, Finland has had the lowest level of corruption in all the countries studied in its survey for the last several years. Also according to the World Audit study, Finland is the least corrupt and most democratic country in the world as of 2006.

In its 2007 Worldwide Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders ranked Finland (along with Belgium and Sweden) 5th out of 169 countries.

Overview

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Finland
conventional short form: Finland
local long form: Suomen tasavalta/Republiken Finland
local short form: Suomi/Finland

Government type:
republic


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