Living in Finland

Cities

Suomen hallinto

Finnish administration

State administration

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

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 InfoFinland page Elections and voting in Finland provides information on who can vote in presidential elections.

Government

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.

linkkiSuomi.fi:
Information on the governance of FinlandFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiThe Finnish Parliament:
Information on the Finnish ParliamentFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiThe Finnish Prime Minister's Office:
The operation of the Finnish GovernmentFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiThe Finnish Prime Minister's Office:
The current Finnish GovernmentFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiThe President of the Republic of Finland's Office:
Information on the duties of the President of FinlandFinnish | Swedish | English

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:

  • Police
  • Prosecutor
  • Distraint offices
  • Local register offices
  • Employment and Economic Development Offices
  • Tax offices
  • Customs
  • Legal Aid Offices

More information on authorities and their tasks is available on the InfoFinland page Important authorities.

Regional administration

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
  • Police
  • 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

linkkiMinistry of Finance:
Local government of the stateFinnish | Swedish

linkkiMinistry of Finance:
Regional governmentFinnish | Swedish

linkkiRegional State Administrative Agency:
Regional government agenciesFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiCentre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment:
Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the EnvironmentFinnish | Swedish | English

Municipalities

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.

linkkiSuomi.fi:
Municipal governmentFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiThe Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities:
Activities of the municipalitiesFinnish | Swedish