Living in Finland

Cities

Vaalit ja äänestäminen Suomessa

Elections and voting in Finland

Voting

Normally, all Finnish citizens who are at least 18 years of age have the right to vote.

However, in municipal elections and European Parliament elections citizens of other countries who reside in Finland also have the right to vote. In a European Parliament election, the citizens of other EU member states who have entered their names on Finland's voting register have the right to vote. In a municipal election, citizens of other countries who have had a municipality of residence in Finland for at least two years have the right to vote.

Notice of the right to vote (ilmoitus äänioikeudesta) will be posted to your home address approximately one month before the election day. This notice will specify your polling station. If you vote on the election day, you will only be able to vote in the polling station specified in the notice.

In all elections, you can also vote before the actual election day, during the advance voting period. If you vote in advance, you may do so at any of the general advance polling stations in Finland or abroad.

If you do not receive a notice of the right to vote, contact the Local Register Office (maistraatti) of your place of residence.

You must take an identity document with you when you go to vote. You should also take along the notice of the right to vote.

Municipal elections

The most important matters of a municipality are decided by the municipal council (kunnanvaltuusto). The members of the municipal council, i.e. the municipal councillors, are elected through the municipal election. The municipal election is held every four years. The number of municipal councillors depends on the population of the municipality.

Who can vote?

You can vote in the municipal election if:

  • you are a citizen of Finland, another EU country, Norway or Iceland and turn 18 on the election day, at the latest. In addition, your municipality of residence must be the municipality in question 51 days prior to the election day, at the latest.
  • you are a citizen of any other country and turn 18 on the election day, at the latest. In addition, your municipality of residence must be the municipality in question 51 days prior to the election day, at the latest. You must also have had a municipality of residence in Finland for a continuous period of at least two years.

Who can be a candidate?

Candidates can be placed by

  • parties in the register of political parties and
  • persons entitled to vote who have set up a constituency association. A constituency association must have at least 10 members.

A candidate must be a person

  • who has the right to vote in municipal elections,
  • whose municipality of residence is the municipality in question,
  • who is not under guardianship.

linkkiVaalit.fi:
Information on municipal electionsFinnish | Swedish | English

Parliamentary elections

Parliament (eduskunta) is the most important decision-making body of the Finnish state. The Members of Parliament are elected through parliamentary elections. A parliamentary election is held every four years. In the parliamentary election, the country is divided into electoral districts. A certain number of members of parliament are selected from each district. The number depends on the population of the electoral district. A total number of 200 Members of Parliament are elected.

Who can vote?

You can vote in the parliamentary election if you are a Finnish citizen and turn 18 on the election day, at the latest. Finnish citizens who live abroad are also entitled to vote.

Who can be a candidate?

Candidates can be placed by

  • parties in the register of political parties and
  • persons entitled to vote who have set up a constituency association. A constituency association must have at least 100 members.

A candidate must be a person

  • who has the right to vote in municipal elections,
  • who is not under guardianship.

linkkiVaalit.fi:
Information on parliament electionsFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiThe Finnish Parliament:
Information on parliament electionsFinnish | Swedish | English

Presidential elections

The President is Finland’s head of state. The President is elected through the presidential election. The presidential election is held every six years. The same person can be elected President no more than two times.

The presidential elections normally have two phases. If neither candidate receives more than 50% of the votes in the first round of the election, a second round is held. The two candidates who received the most votes in the first round enter the second round. The candidate who receives the most votes in the second round is elected President.

Who can vote?

You can vote in the presidential election if you are a Finnish citizen and you turn 18 on the election day, at the latest. Finnish citizens who live abroad are also entitled to vote.

Who can be a candidate?

Presidential candidates can be placed by

  • parties that have at least one Member of Parliament,
  • persons entitled to vote who have set up a constituency association. A constituency association must have at least 20,000 members.

A candidate must be a person

  • who is a native Finnish citizen,
  • who has the right to vote in presidential elections,
  • who is not under guardianship.

linkkiVaalit.fi:
Information on presidential electionsFinnish | Swedish | English

European Parliament elections

The European Parliament is, together with the Council of the European Union, the most important legislator in the European Union. The governments of the member states are represented in the Council of the European Union. The Parliament has 754 members, 13 of whom have been elected from Finland. The Members of Parliament are appointed through an election. The election is held every five years.

Who can vote?

You can vote in a European Parliament election if

  • you are a Finnish citizen and turn 18 on the election day, at the latest.
  • you are a citizen of another EU country and turn 18 on the election day, at the latest. In addition, you must have a municipality of residence in Finland 51 days prior to the election day. You must be registered in the voting register in Finland. The registration must be submitted no later than 80 days prior to the election day.

You can vote in the same election in one EU member state only.

Who can be a candidate?

Candidates can be placed by

  • parties in the register of political parties and
  • persons entitled to vote who have set up a constituency association. A constituency association must have at least 2,000 members.

A candidate must a person

  • who has the right to vote in the European Parliament elections,
  • who is not under guardianship.

linkkiVaalit.fi:
Information on the European Parliament electionsFinnish | Swedish | English