Finland 1999 Constitution (reviewed 2011)

Table of Contents

Chapter 3. The Parliament and the Representatives

Section 24. Composition and term of the Parliament

The Parliament is unicameral. It consists of two hundred Representatives, who are elected for a term of four years at a time.

The term of the Parliament begins when the results of the parliamentary elections have been confirmed and lasts until the next parliamentary elections have been held.

Section 25. Parliamentary elections

The Representatives shall be elected by a direct, proportional and secret vote. Every citizen who has the right to vote has equal suffrage in the elections.

For the parliamentary elections, the country shall be divided, on the basis of the number of Finnish citizens, into at least twelve and at most eighteen constituencies. In addition, the Åland Islands shall form their own constituency for the election of one Representative.

The right to nominate candidates in parliamentary elections belongs to registered political parties and, as provided by an Act, to groups of persons who have the right to vote.

More detailed provisions on the timing of parliamentary elections, the nomination of candidates, the conduct of the elections and the constituencies are laid down by an Act.

Section 26. Extraordinary parliamentary elections

The President of the Republic, in response to a reasoned proposal by the Prime Minister, and after having heard the parliamentary groups, and while the Parliament is in session, may order that extraordinary parliamentary elections shall be held. Thereafter, the Parliament shall decide the time when it concludes its work before the elections.

After extraordinary parliamentary elections, the Parliament shall convene in session on the first day of the calendar month that begins ninety days after the election order, unless the Parliament has decided on an earlier date of convocation.

Section 27. Eligibility and qualifications for the office of Representative

Everyone with the right to vote and who is not under guardianship can be a candidate in parliamentary elections.

A person holding military office cannot, however, be elected as a Representative.

The Chancellor of Justice of the Government, the Parliamentary Ombudsman, a Justice of the Supreme Court or the Supreme Administrative Court, and the Prosecutor-General cannot serve as representatives. If a Representative is elected President of the Republic or appointed or elected to one of the aforesaid offices, he or she shall cease to be a Representative from the date of appointment or election. The office of a Representative shall cease also if the Representative forfeits his or her eligibility.

Section 28. Suspension of the office of a Representative and release or dismissal from office

The office of a Representative is suspended for the time during which the Representative is serving as a Member of the European Parliament. During that time a deputy of the Representative shall replace the Representative. The tenure of office of a Representative is suspended also for the duration of military service.

The Parliament may grant a release from office for a Representative upon his or her request if it deems there is an acceptable reason for granting such release.

If a Representative essentially and repeatedly neglects his or her duties as a Representative, the Parliament may, after having obtained the opinion of the Constitutional Law Committee, dismiss him or her from office permanently or for a given period by a decision supported by at least two thirds of the votes cast.

If a person elected as a Representative has been sentenced by an enforceable judgement to imprisonment for a deliberate crime or to a punishment for an electoral offence, the Parliament may inquire whether he or she can be allowed to continue to serve as a Representative. If the offence is such that the accused does not command the trust and respect necessary for the office of a Representative, the Parliament may, after having obtained the opinion of the Constitutional Law Committee, declare the office of the Representative terminated by a decision supported by at least two thirds of the votes cast.

Section 29. Independence of Representatives

A Representative is obliged to follow justice and truth in his or her office. He or she shall abide by the Constitution and no other orders are binding on him or her.

Section 30. Parliamentary immunity

A Representative shall not be prevented from carrying out his or her duties as a Representative.

A Representative shall not be charged in a court of law nor be deprived of liberty owing to opinions expressed by the Representative in the Parliament or owing to conduct in the consideration of a matter, unless the Parliament has consented to the same by a decision supported by at least five sixths of the votes cast.

If a Representative has been arrested or detained, the Speaker of the Parliament shall be immediately notified of this. A Representative shall not be arrested or detained before the commencement of a trial without the consent of the Parliament, unless he or she is for substantial reasons suspected of having committed a crime for which the minimum punishment is imprisonment for at least six months.

Section 31. Freedom of speech and conduct of Representatives

Each Representative has the right to speak freely in the Parliament on all matters under consideration and on how they are dealt with.

A Representative shall conduct himself or herself with dignity and decorum, and not behave offensively to another person. If a Representative is in breach of such conduct, the Speaker may point this out or prohibit the Representative from continuing to speak. The Parliament may caution a Representative who has repeatedly breached the order or suspend him or her from sessions of the Parliament for a maximum of two weeks.

Section 32. Conflict of interest

A Representative is disqualified from consideration of and decision-making in any matter that concerns him or her personally. However, he or she may participate in the debate on such matters in a plenary session of the Parliament. In addition, a Representative shall be disqualified from the consideration in a Committee of a matter pertaining to the inspection of his or her official duties.

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