Finnish parliamentary election, 2003

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Finnish parliamentary election, 2003
1999 ←
16 March 2003 → 2007

All 200 seats to the Parliament
101 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 66.7%
  First party Second party Third party
  Anneli Jäätteenmäki Paavo Lipponen Ville Itälä
Leader Anneli Jäätteenmäki Paavo Lipponen Ville Itälä
Party Centre Social Democratic National Coalition
Leader since 2000 1993 2001
Last election 48 seats, 22.4% 51 seats, 22.9% 46 seats, 21.0%
Seats won 55 53 40
Seat change Increase7 Increase2 Decrease6
Popular vote 689,391 683,223 517,904
Percentage 24.7% 24.5% 18.6%
Swing Increase2.3% Increase1.6% Decrease2.4%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  Suvi-Anne Siimes Osmo Soininvaara Bjarne Kallis
Leader Suvi-Anne Siimes Osmo Soininvaara Bjarne Kallis
Party Left Alliance Green League Christian Democrat
Leader since 1998 2001 2001
Last election 20 seats, 10.9% 11 seats, 7.3% 7 seats, 5,34%
Seats won 19 14 7
Seat change Decrease1 Increase3 Decrease3
Popular vote 277,152 223,564 148,987
Percentage 9.9% 8.0% 5.3%
Swing Decrease1.0% Increase0.7% Increase1.1%

  Seventh party Eighth party Ninth party
  Jan-Erik Enestam Timo Soini Yrjö Hakanen
Leader Jan-Erik Enestam Timo Soini Yrjö Hakanen
Party Swedish People's Finns Communist Party
Leader since 1998 1997 1990
Last election 11 seats, 5.1% 1 seat, 1.0% 0 seats, 0.8%
Seats won 8 3 0
Seat change Decrease3 Increase2 Steady0
Popular vote 128,824 43,816 21,079
Percentage 4.6% 1.6% 0.8%
Swing Decrease0.5% Increase0.6% Steady

Prime Minister before election

Paavo Lipponen
Social Democratic

Prime Minister

Anneli Jäätteenmäki

Coat of arms of Finland.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

Parliamentary elections were held in Finland on 16 March 2003.[1] The Centre Party led by Anneli Jäätteenmäki overtook the Social Democratic Party (SDP) to become the largest party in the Eduskunta. This was credited mainly to Jäätteenmäki's powerful leadership and modernization of the party still often viewed as agrarian and conservative by many. However, the SDP actually won some seats and increased its share of the vote, losing in the amount of total popular votes only by few thousand.

The Green League achieved its best results ever, but the Swedish People's Party suffered losses. The Christian Democrats gained votes but lost seats. This was partly because in 1999 and before Christian Democrats had been in an election coalition with Centre Party and benefited from this, while the Centre Party had lost seats due to the arrangement, and thus discontinued it starting from 2003. The Left Alliance continued its slow decline, while the small populist Finns Party did not do as well as some had expected.

Electoral system[edit]

The election was held under the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation, where the electoral district voted directly for the individual candidate, but each vote also benefitted the candidate's party.

The country was divided into fifteen electoral districts, with the boundaries corresponding to those of administrative regions (in some cases several regions have been grouped into a single constituency), with the exception that the city of Helsinki serves as its own constituency, instead of being part of the Uusimaa region in this case. Each constituency elected a number of representatives to the Eduskunta based on its population. The autonomous region of Åland had a special status with one representative even if its population was not large enough.

Candidates for the parliamentary election were allowed to be set by political parties and electoral associations. Any Finnish citizen over the age of 18 was eligible for candidacy, apart from incapacitated persons and professional soldiers. Each party or electoral union was allowed to set a maximum of 14 candidates per electoral district, or, in the case the district elected more than 14 members of parliament, an amount equal to that of the representatives elected.

Each Finnish citizen aged 18 or over on the election day had the right to vote in the election, no matter where they lived. The electorate consisted of a total of 4,220,951 people, 4,015,552 of whom were resident in Finland and 205,399 abroad.


Party Votes % Seats +/–
Centre Party 689,391 24.7 55 +7
Social Democratic Party 683,223 24.5 53 +2
National Coalition Party 517,904 18.6 40 –6
Left Alliance 277,152 9.9 19 –1
Green League 223,564 8.0 14 +3
Christian Democrats 148,987 5.3 7 –3
Swedish People's Party 128,824 4.6 8 –3
Finns Party 43,816 1.6 3 +2
Communist Party of Finland 21,079 0.8 0 0
Forces for Change in Finland 11,485 0.4 0 New
Liberals 8,776 0.3 0 0
Kirjava ”Puolue” – Elonkehän Puolesta 6,659 0.2 0 0
Pensioners for People 5,346 0.2 0 0
Finnish People's Blue-Whites 4,579 0.2 0 New
Åland Coalition 4,306 0.2 1 0
Communist Workers' Party – For Peace and Socialism 2,908 0.1 0 0
Finland Rises – People Unites 2,640 0.1 0 New
For the Poor 1,448 0.1 0 New
Joint Responsibility Party 404 0.0 0 New
Others 9,266 0.3 0
Invalid/blank votes 23,943
Total 2,815,700 100 200 0
Registered voters/turnout 4,220,951 66.7
Source: Tilastokeskus[2]
Popular vote
Parliament seats


The Council of State, or the Finnish cabinet, was formed after the parliamentary election by the Centre Party, with its leader Anneli Jäätteenmäki as Prime Minister. A coalition government was formed, composing of the two largest parties of the Eduskunta, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Centre Party, and a minor coalition partner, the Swedish People's Party, who has a history of being a partner in government since 1976. The new cabinet had eight ministers from both the SDP and the Centre Party, and two ministers from the Swedish People's Party.

However, this proved to be one of the shortest-lived cabinets in Finnish history, lasting only 69 days, after the Iraq leak scandal led to the government falling on 24 June 2003. A new cabinet was formed by the Centre Party's Matti Vanhanen, with largely the same composition as the previous cabinet.

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p606 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ Eduskuntavaalit 1927–2003 Tilastokeskus 2004

External links[edit]