Finnish parliamentary election, 1917

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Parliamentary elections were held in the Grand Duchy of Finland on 1 and 2 October 1917. The general voter turnout was higher than in previous elections. The Social Democrats lost the absolute majority that they had had in the previous two elections (in spite of the fact that they, like the other parties, had increased their number of votes in absolute terms). In other words, the "bourgeois" (non-socialist) parties taken together now had more than half the seats.


The elections were the result of the constitutional crisis in Finland caused by the Russian revolution. As Russian Tsar Nicholas, head of state in Finland, had abdicated without there being a successor, the Finnish Parliament stated that it would become the highest power in internal matters. The Russian Provisional Government did not accept this, but ordered premature parliamentary elections, which was thought illegal by the Socialists.


The Social Democrats demanded the quick implementation of eight-hour work day and the quick freeing of tenant farmers. The bourgeois parties, on average, wanted first to ensure that Finland would become fully independent, and only then to implement such social and economic reforms.[1][2]


Party Votes % Seats +/–
Social Democratic Party of Finland 444,670 44.79 92 –11
Finnish PartyYoung Finnish PartyPeople's Party[a] 299,516 30.17 61 +5
Agrarian League 122,900 12.38 26 +7
Swedish People's Party 108,190 10.90 21 0
Christian Workers' Union 15,489 1.56 0 –1
Others 1,997 0.20 0
Total 992,762 100 200 0
Registered voters/turnout 1,441,075 69.2
Source: Suomen virallinen tilasto,[3] Vaalit

a The Finnish Party won 32 seats, the Young Finnish Party 24 and the People's Party five.


  1. ^ Seppo Zetterberg et al (2003_ A Small Giant of the Finnish History WSOY
  2. ^ Allan Tiitta and Seppo Zetterberg (1992) Finland Through the Ages Reader's Digest
  3. ^ Suomen virallinen tilasto 29 A, 8 (Tilastollinen päätoimisto), p35