Finland is a republic. The highest organs of government in Finland are the Parliament of Finland, the President of the Republic and the Finnish Government.
Parliament (eduskunta) enacts laws and decides upon the state budget. Parliament also supervises the operations of the government. The parliament includes 200 Members of Parliament. The Members of Parliament are appointed by election for four years at a time.
The InfoFinland page Elections and voting in Finland provides information on who can vote in parliamentary elections.
President of the Republic
The Finnish head of state is the President of the Republic (tasavallan presidentti). The President is appointed by election. The term of office of the President is six years. The same person cannot serve as President for more than two consecutive terms, i.e. 12 years.
The President of the Republic
- ratifies laws,
- appoints the highest officials,
- leads foreign policy together with the government and
- acts as the Supreme Commander of the Finnish Defence Forces.
The government (hallitus) includes the Prime Minister and other ministers. Parliament selects the Prime Minister and the President appoints him/her to the task. Other ministers are appointed by the President according to the suggestions of the Prime Minister.
The government prepares and implements the decisions made by Parliament. The government is responsible for its actions to the Parliament, which means that the ministers must have Parliament’s confidence. The ministries prepare the matters that are decided by the government. The ministers lead the work of the ministry officials. Numerous agencies and departments operate under the ministries. The Finnish Immigration Service, for example, is an agency operating under the Ministry of the Interior.
The Finnish Prime Minister's OfficeThe operation of the Finnish GovernmentLink redirects to another website
The President of the Republic of Finland's OfficeInformation on the duties of the President of FinlandLink redirects to another website
Local state administration
Local state administration refers to those authorities that handle state duties in a particular area. The following authorities are part of the local state administration:
- Distraint offices
- Local register offices
- Employment and Economic Development Offices
- Tax offices
- Legal Aid Offices
More information on authorities and their tasks is available on the InfoFinland page Important authorities .
Regional administration is handled by Regional State Administrative Agencies (aluehallintovirasto) and Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (elinkeino-, liikenne- ja ympäristökeskus, ELY-keskus).
Finland has six Regional State Administrative Agencies. The agencies handle the implementation and supervision of the law in their own regions. The Regional State Administrative Agencies are responsible for the following:
- Basic public services, legal rights and permits
- Rescue services and readiness
- Occupational safety
- Environmental permit
Finland has 15 Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment. Their tasks include the following:
- Advising businesses
- Environmental protection
- Promoting traffic safety
- Promoting the integration of immigrants
Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the EnvironmentCentres for Economic Development, Transport and the EnvironmentLink redirects to another website
Finland is divided into municipalities. The municipalities are self-governing or, in other words, they can decide on their own matters. The municipalities have the power to levy taxes, which means that they can collect municipal tax from their residents. The municipalities are obliged to organise a variety of services for their residents. These include health care, child day-care and education. In addition, they can offer other services. More information is available on the InfoFinland web page Municipality of residence in Finland .
Decisions regarding each municipality are made by the municipal council. The members of the council are selected through a municipal election held every four years. The council elects the members for the municipal board whose duty is to prepare council decisions and implement them.
The InfoFinland page Elections and voting in Finland provides information on who can vote in municipal elections.