Government of Finland

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The Government of Finland is the governing authority of Finland, a northern European representative democracy with proportional representation. The government is composed of the parliament (Finnish: eduskunta, Swedish: riksdagen), the president of the Republic (Finnish: tasavallan presidentti, Swedish: republikens president), the Council of State (Finnish: valtioneuvosto, Swedish: statsområdet), local government, indirect state administration and independent judiciary.[1]

The incumbent Council of State of Finland is the Sipilä Cabinet.

Highest elected bodies[edit]

Finland is a constitutional republic whose highest elected bodies are the parliament, the president of the Republic and the government.[1]

Legislative power is vested in the Parliament of Finland (Finnish: Eduskunta, Swedish: Riksdagen). Executive power is exercised by the Cabinet, officially termed Council of State (Finnish: Valtioneuvosto, Swedish: Statsrådet), which is led by the Prime Minister, the Head of Government.

Some matters are decided by the President of Finland, the Head of State, in plenary meetings with the Council of State, echoing the constitutional history of a privy council. The President is otherwise not present in the Council, but decides on issues such as personal appointments and pardons on the advice of the relevant minister. In the ministries, matters of secondary importance are decided by individual ministers, advised by the minister's State Secretary. The Prime Minister and the other ministers in the Council of State are responsible for their actions in office to the Parliament.

State administration and central government[edit]

The Prime Minister’s Office and eleven ministries make up the Cabinet, or Government, in Finland.[2]

The Head of Government is the Prime Minister, currently Juha Sipilä, who has held the office since 29 May 2015. The Prime Minister designate is subject to election by the Parliament and, if elected, he or she —along with all the other ministers upon the nomination of the Prime Minister— are appointed by the President of Finland. All the ministers shall be Finnish citizens, known to be honest and competent.[3]


The ministries function as administrative and political experts and prepare Government decisions within their mandates. They also represent their relevant administrative sectors in domestic and international cooperation.[4]

New laws are drafted in ministries. There is a tradition of substantial ministerial independence in law drafting. The drafts are then reviewed by government and parliament before enactment. The final legislative power is vested in Parliament, in conjunction with the President of the Republic, according to the Finnish Constitution.[5]

There are 12 ministries[6] in the government. As there are more members (ministers) in the Council of State than ministries, some are headed by more than one minister.

Regional and local administration[edit]

Finland is divided between six Regional State Administrative Agencies, which are responsible for basic public services and legal permits, such as rescue services and environmental permits.[7] The 15 Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) are responsible for the regional implementation and development tasks of the central government.[8]

The basic units for organising government and public services in Finland are the municipalities.[9] As of 2017, there are 311 municipalities, which incorporate the entire country.[10]

Indirect public administration[edit]

Indirect public administration supplements and supports the authorities in managing the tasks of the welfare society.[1] it comprises organisations which are not authorities, but which carry out public tasks or execute public powers. Examples of this are issuing hunting licences or carrying out motor vehicle inspection.[11]

Courts of law[edit]

Finland has a civil law (Roman law) system with an inquisitorial procedure. In accordance with the separation of powers, the trias politica principle, courts of law are independent of other administration. They base their decisions solely on the law in force.[1] Criminal cases, civil cases and petitionary matters are dealt in 27 district courts, and then, if the decision is not satisfactory to the involved parties, can be applied in six Courts of Appeal. The Supreme Court of Finland serves as the court of last instance. Appeals against decisions by authorities are considered in six regional administrative courts, with the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland as the court of last instance.[12] The President appoints all professional judges for life. Municipal councils appoint lay judges to district courts.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "State and municipalities". Retrieved 19 January 2017.  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ "Ministries". Retrieved 20 January 2017. 
  3. ^ "Formation of the Government, Sections 60 and 61" (PDF). Finlex. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  4. ^ "Ministries". Finnish State Treasury. Retrieved 2016-04-29. 
  5. ^ "Law Drafting". Finlex. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  6. ^ "Ministries". Finnish Government. Archived from the original on 2011-06-10. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  7. ^ "Regional State Administrative Agencies". Retrieved 19 January 2017. 
  8. ^ "Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment". Retrieved 19 January 2017. 
  9. ^ "Kuntarakennelaki". Finlex (in Finnish). Retrieved 19 January 2017. 
  10. ^ "Kuntien lukumäärä". vm (in Finnish). Retrieved 19 January 2017. 
  11. ^ "Indirect public administration". Retrieved 20 January 2017. 
  12. ^ "Courts of law". Retrieved 20 January 2017. 

External links[edit]