Finland 1999 Constitution (reviewed 2011)

Table of Contents

Chapter 6. Legislation

Section 70. Legislative initiative

The proposal for the enactment of an Act is initiated in the Parliament through a government proposal submitted by the Government or through a legislative motion submitted by a Representative. Legislative motions can be submitted when the Parliament is in session.

Section 71. Supplementation and withdrawal of a government proposal

A government proposal may be supplemented through a new complementary proposal or it may be withdrawn. A complementary proposal cannot be submitted once the Committee preparing the matter has issued its report.

Section 72. Consideration of a legislative proposal in the Parliament

Once the relevant report of the Committee preparing the matter has been issued, a legislative proposal is considered in two readings in a plenary session of the Parliament.

In the first reading of the legislative proposal, the report of the Committee is presented and debated, and a decision on the contents of the legislative proposal is made. In the second reading, which at the earliest takes place on the third day after the conclusion of the first reading, the Parliament decides whether the legislative proposal is accepted or rejected.

While the first reading is in progress, the legislative proposal may be referred to the Grand Committee for consideration.

More detailed provisions on the consideration of a legislative proposal are laid down in the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure.

Section 73. Procedure for constitutional enactment

A proposal on the enactment, amendment or repeal of the Constitution or on the enactment of a limited derogation of the Constitution shall in the second reading be left in abeyance, by a majority of the votes cast, until the first parliamentary session following parliamentary elections. The proposal shall then, once the Committee has issued its report, be adopted without material alterations in one reading in a plenary session by a decision supported by at least two thirds of the votes cast.

However, the proposal may be declared urgent by a decision that has been supported by at least five sixths of the votes cast. In this event, the proposal is not left in abeyance and it can be adopted by a decision supported by at least two thirds of the votes cast.

Section 74. Supervision of constitutionality

The Constitutional Law Committee shall issue statements on the constitutionality of legislative proposals and other matters brought for its consideration, as well as on their relation to international human rights treaties.

Section 75. Special legislation for the Åland Islands

The legislative procedure for the Act on the Autonomy of the Åland Islands and the Act on the Right to Acquire Real Estate in the Åland Islands is governed by the specific provisions in those Acts.

The right of the Legislative Assembly of the Åland Islands to submit proposals and the enactment of Acts passed by the Legislative Assembly of Åland are governed by the provisions in the Act on the Autonomy of the Åland Islands.

Section 76. The Church Act

Provisions on the organisation and administration of the Evangelic Lutheran Church are laid down in the Church Act.

The legislative procedure for enactment of the Church Act and the right to submit legislative proposals relating to the Church Act are governed by the specific provisions in that Code.

Section 77. Confirmation of Acts

An Act adopted by the Parliament shall be submitted to the President of the Republic for confirmation. The President shall decide on the confirmation within three months of the submission of the Act. The President may obtain a statement on the Act from the Supreme Court or the Supreme Administrative Court.

If the President does not confirm the Act, it is returned for the consideration of the Parliament. If the Parliament readopts the Act without material alterations, it enters into force without confirmation. If the Parliament does not readopt the Act, it shall be deemed to have lapsed.

Section 78. Consideration of an unconfirmed Act

If the President of the Republic has not confirmed an Act within the time provided, it shall without delay be taken up for reconsideration in the Parliament. Once the pertinent report of the Committee has been issued, the Act shall be adopted without material alterations or rejected. The decision is made in plenary session in one reading with the majority of the votes cast.

Section 79. Publication and entry into force of Acts

If an Act has been enacted in accordance with the procedure for constitutional enactment, this is indicated in the Act.

An Act which has been confirmed or which enters into force without confirmation shall be signed by the President of the Republic and countersigned by the appropriate Minister. The Government shall thereafter without delay publish the Act in the Statutes of Finland.

The Act shall indicate the date when it enters into force. For a special reason, it may be stated in an Act that it is to enter into force by means of a Decree. If the Act has not been published by the date provided for its entry into force, it shall enter into force on the date of its publication.

Acts are enacted and published in Finnish and Swedish.

Section 80. Issuance of Decrees and delegation of legislative powers

The President of the Republic, the Government and a Ministry may issue Decrees on the basis of authorisation given to them in this Constitution or in another Act. However, the principles governing the rights and obligations of private individuals and the other matters that under this Constitution are of a legislative nature shall be governed by Acts. If there is no specific provision on who shall issue a Decree, it is issued by the Government.

Moreover, other authorities may be authorised by an Act to lay down legal rules on given matters, if there is a special reason pertinent to the subject matter and if the material significance of the rules does not require that they be laid down by an Act or a Decree. The scope of such an authorisation shall be precisely circumscribed.

General provisions on the publication and entry into force of Decrees and other legal norms are laid down by an Act.