Finland Politics: What you should Know Before you Travel

Finland’s government, with a constitution last adopted in March of 2000, is a republic based on a Swedish civil law system. If you are planning on traveling to Finland soon, the current chief of state is President Tarja Halonen, elected by popular vote to a six-year term in 2000. The President then appoints the prime minister from the majority party, or the majority coalition, with the parliament’s approval. The presidency is formally responsible for foreign policy, while the bulk of the executive power lies in the cabinet headed by the prime minister. The Parliament (Eduskunta) is a unicameral assembly with 200 representatives popularly elected on a proportional basis to four-year terms. The three largest political parties are Kesk, Social Democratic Party, and Kok amounting to about 68% combined of the last election in 2003. The judicial courts are divided into a civil and criminal branch, and an administrative branch. Each branch has its own Supreme Court. A Finland political fact you might find interesting when traveling within the country; Finland does not have a constitutional judicial system – the courts do not have the authority to declare laws unconstitutional. Rather such laws are put to a vote by the Parliament. When conflict does arise between a law and the constitution, in theory the constitution takes precedence.