Country Listing

Finland Table of Contents



Government: Constitution Act of 1919 basis of system of government both parliamentary and presidential. Division of power among legislative, executive, and judicial branches only partial, and resulting overlapping of competencies ensures that authorities act according to Constitution. Supreme power rests with the Finnish people, who elect through universal suffrage 200-member Eduskunta, country's parliament. This body ultimately more powerful than president, the supreme executive, who often can act only through Council of State, or cabinet, whose members come mainly from Eduskunta.

Politics: As many as a dozen parties actively articulate wide range of political viewpoints. Smaller number of parties, socialist and nonsocialist, have participated in cabinet governments in the postwar era. All parties with members in Eduskunta receive state subsidies. Party newspapers also enjoy state financial support.

Legal System: Independent judges and constitutional guarantees protect integrity of judicial system consisting of general courts that deal with civil and criminal cases and administrative courts concerned with appeals against decisions of government agencies. General courts exist at three levels: local, appeal, and Supreme Court; administrative courts exist at provincial and Supreme Administrative Court levels. Chancellor of justice, Finland's highest prosecutor, and parliamentary ombudsman charged with rectifying legal injustice.

Foreign Relations: Finland follows what is officially termed an active and peaceful policy of neutrality. Member of Nordic Council, European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Council of Europe, and United Nations (UN).

Data as of December 1988