Right to vote in Finland

Äänioikeus Suomessa
This section tells about what national and municipal elections are held in Finland and who is entitled to vote in them.

Nordic citizens are, under certain conditions, entitled to vote and stand for election in Finland in municipal elections and advisory municipal referendums. The same applies to Nordic citizens of a member state of the European Union in elections to the European Parliament. Only Finnish citizens are entitled to vote in Finnish parliamentary and presidential elections and national referendums. More detailed information on elections is available on the elections website of the Ministry of Justice.

Municipal elections

Citizens of Finland, other European Union member states, Iceland and Norway are entitled to vote in Finnish municipal elections if they reach the age of 18 no later than on the day of the election and their municipality of residence was the municipality in question on the 51st day before the election day.

Citizens of other states are also entitled to vote if they reach the age of 18 no later than on the day of the election and their municipality of residence was the municipality in question on the 51st day before the election day and whose municipality of residence at that time has been in Finland for at least two years without interruption.

A person is eligible to stand for election in his or her municipality of residence, i.e. can stand for election in municipal elections if he or she is entitled to vote in the elections concerned and is not under guardianship (legally incompetent).

Municipal elections are held every four years.

Elections to the European Parliament

Every Finnish citizen who reaches the age of 18 no later than on the day of the election is entitled to vote in elections to the European Parliament held in Finland, irrespective of his or her place of residence.

Citizens of any other member state of the European Union can also vote, if they reach the age of 18 no later than on the day of the election and their municipality of residence as defined in the Municipality of Residence Act is in Finland on the 51st day before the election day. However, entitlement to vote is conditional on the person registering his or her right to vote in Finland. Registration must be done at the Local Register Office no later than on the 80th day before the election day. Registration can be done using the Population Register Centre’s form.

Persons entitled to vote may only vote in one EU member state in the same elections to the European Parliament: either their home country or the country where they live.

A Finnish citizen who has registered to vote in the elections to the European Parliament in another EU member state in the time limit laid down is not entitled to vote in the elections to the European Parliament in Finland.

Elections to the European Parliament are held every five years.

Finnish parliamentary elections

All Finnish citizens who reach the age of 18 no later than on the day of the election are entitled to vote in Finnish parliamentary elections irrespective of their place of residence. All Finnish citizens living abroad can also vote in Finnish parliamentary elections. The electoral register is assembled from the population register system 51 days before elections, so only those Finnish citizens are entitled to vote in Finnish parliamentary elections who are registered as Finnish citizens before the electoral register is assembled.

Any person eligible to vote who is not legally incompetent is eligible to stand for election, with the exception of some high-ranking civil servants and professional soldiers.

Finnish parliamentary elections are held every four years.

Presidential election

All Finnish citizens who reach the age of 18 no later than on the first day of the election are entitled to vote in presidential elections. The electoral register is assembled from the population register system 51 days before elections, so only those Finnish citizens are entitled to vote in Presidential elections who are registered as Finnish citizens before the electoral register is assembled.

The President of the Republic must be a native Finnish citizen.

The President of the Republic is elected every six years.

Referendums

The right to vote in municipal advisory referendums is defined in the same way as in municipal elections.

In national advisory referendums the right to vote is defined in the same way as in Finnish parliamentary elections. So far two national referendums have been held in Finland: on abolition of the Prohibition Act in 1931 and on accession to the European Union in 1994.

More information on the elections website of the Ministry of Justice.

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