1The following text is from the Constitute Project, who through a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License, has generously made this content available for use for noncommercial purposes. Follow (right-click) the links and read the annotation to learn more. 1
6The constitution of Finland is established in this constitutional act. The constitution shall guarantee the inviolability of human dignity and the freedom and rights of the individual and promote justice in society.
7Finland participates in international co-operation for the protection of peace and human rights and for the development of society. Finland is a Member State of the European Union (1112/2011, entry into force 1.3.2012).
19A child acquires Finnish citizenship at birth and through the citizenship of its parents, as provided in more detail by an Act. Citizenship may also be granted upon notification or application, subject to the criteria determined by an Act.
20No one can be divested of or released from his or her Finnish citizenship except on grounds determined by an Act and only if he or she is in possession of or will be granted the citizenship of another State.
24No one shall, without an acceptable reason, be treated differently from other persons on the ground of sex, age, origin, language, religion, conviction, opinion, health, disability or other reason that concerns his or her person.
30The personal integrity of the individual shall not be violated, nor shall anyone be deprived of liberty arbitrarily or without a reason prescribed by an Act. A penalty involving deprivation of liberty may be imposed only by a court of law. The lawfulness of other cases of deprivation of liberty may be submitted for review by a court of law. The rights of individuals deprived of their liberty shall be guaranteed by an Act.
32No one shall be found guilty of a criminal offence or be sentenced to a punishment on the basis of a deed, which has not been determined punishable by an Act at the time of its commission. The penalty imposed for an offence shall not be more severe than that provided by an Act at the time of commission of the offence.
35Everyone has the right to leave the country. Limitations on this right may be provided by an Act, if they are necessary for the purpose of safeguarding legal proceedings or for the enforcement of penalties or for the fulfillment of the duty of national defence.
36Finnish citizens shall not be prevented from entering Finland or deported or extradited or transferred from Finland to another country against their will. However, it may be laid down by an Act that due to a criminal act, for the purpose of legal proceedings, or in order to enforce a decision concerning the custody or care of a child, a Finnish citizen can be extradited or transferred to a country in which his or her human rights and legal protection are guaranteed. (802/2007, entry into force 1.10.2007)
37The right of foreigners to enter Finland and to remain in the country is regulated by an Act. A foreigner shall not be deported, extradited or returned to another country, if in consequence he or she is in danger of a death sentence, torture or other treatment violating human dignity.
41Measures encroaching on the sanctity of the home, and which are necessary for the purpose of guaranteeing basic rights and liberties or for the investigation of crime, may be laid down by an Act. In addition, provisions concerning limitations of the secrecy of communications which are necessary in the investigation of crimes that jeopardise the security of the individual or society or the sanctity of the home, at trials and security checks, as well as during the deprivation of liberty may be laid down by an Act.
44Freedom of religion and conscience entails the right to profess and practice a religion, the right to express one's convictions and the right to be a member of or decline to be a member of a religious community. No one is under the obligation, against his or her conscience, to participate in the practice of a religion.
46Everyone has the freedom of expression. Freedom of expression entails the right to express, disseminate and receive information, opinions and other communications without prior prevention by anyone. More detailed provisions on the exercise of the freedom of expression are laid down by an Act. Provisions on restrictions relating to pictorial programmes that are necessary for the protection of children may be laid down by an Act.
47Documents and recordings in the possession of the authorities are public, unless their publication has for compelling reasons been specifically restricted by an Act. Everyone has the right of access to public documents and recordings.
50Everyone has the freedom of association. Freedom of association entails the right to form an association without a permit, to be a member or not to be a member of an association and to participate in the activities of an association. The freedom to form trade unions and to organise in order to look after other interests is likewise guaranteed.
53Every Finnish citizen who has reached eighteen years of age has the right to vote in national elections and referendums. Specific provisions in this Constitution shall govern the eligibility to stand for office in national elections.
54Every Finnish citizen and every other citizen of the European Union resident in Finland, having attained eighteen years of age, has the right to vote in the European Parliamentary elections, as provided by an Act. (1112/2011, entry into force 1.3.2012).
55Every Finnish citizen and every foreigner permanently resident in Finland, having attained eighteen years of age, has the right to vote in municipal elections and municipal referendums, as provided by an Act. Provisions on the right to otherwise participate in municipal government are laid down by an Act.
62The public authorities shall, as provided in more detail by an Act, guarantee for everyone equal opportunity to receive other educational services in accordance with their ability and special needs, as well as the opportunity to develop themselves without being prevented by economic hardship.
66The right of everyone to use his or her own language, either Finnish or Swedish, before courts of law and other authorities, and to receive official documents in that language, shall be guaranteed by an Act. The public authorities shall provide for the cultural and societal needs of the Finnish-speaking and Swedish-speaking populations of the country on an equal basis.
67The Sami, as an indigenous people, as well as the Roma and other groups, have the right to maintain and develop their own language and culture. Provisions on the right of the Sami to use the Sami language before the authorities are laid down by an Act. The rights of persons using sign language and of persons in need of interpretation or translation aid owing to disability shall be guaranteed by an Act.
69Everyone has the right, as provided by an Act, to earn his or her livelihood by the employment, occupation or commercial activity of his or her choice. The public authorities shall take responsibility for the protection of the labour force.
70The public authorities shall promote employment and work towards guaranteeing for everyone the right to work. Provisions on the right to receive training that promotes employability are laid down by an Act.
74Everyone shall be guaranteed by an Act the right to basic subsistence in the event of unemployment, illness, and disability and during old age as well as at the birth of a child or the loss of a provider.
75The public authorities shall guarantee for everyone, as provided in more detail by an Act, adequate social, health and medical services and promote the health of the population. Moreover, the public authorities shall support families and others responsible for providing for children so that they have the ability to ensure the wellbeing and personal development of the children.
79The public authorities shall endeavour to guarantee for everyone the right to a healthy environment and for everyone the possibility to influence the decisions that concern their own living environment.
81Everyone has the right to have his or her case dealt with appropriately and without undue delay by a legally competent court of law or other authority, as well as to have a decision pertaining to his or her rights or obligations reviewed by a court of law or other independent organ for the administration of justice.
82Provisions concerning the publicity of proceedings, the right to be heard, the right to receive a reasoned decision and the right of appeal, as well as the other guarantees of a fair trial and good governance shall be laid down by an Act.
86Such provisional exceptions to basic rights and liberties that are compatible with Finland's international human rights obligations and that are deemed necessary in the case of an armed attack against Finland or in the event of other situations of emergency, as provided by an Act, which pose a serious threat to the nation may be provided by an Act or by a Government Decree to be issued on the basis of authorisation given in an Act for a special reason and subject to a precisely circumscribed scope of application. The grounds for provisional exceptions shall be laid down by an Act, however.
94For 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.
98The 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.
99After 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.
103The 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.
105The 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.
107If 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.
108If 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.
113A 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.
114If 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.
117A 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.
119A 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.
123The parliamentary session continues until the time when the Parliament convenes for the following parliamentary session. However, the last parliamentary session of an electoral term shall continue until the Parliament decides to conclude its work. Thereafter, the President shall declare the work of the Parliament finished for that electoral term. However, the Speaker of the Parliament has the right to reconvene the Parliament, when necessary, before new elections have been held.
126The election of the Speaker and the Deputy Speakers is conducted by secret ballot. The Representative receiving more than one half of the votes cast is deemed elected. If no one has received the required majority of the votes cast in the first two ballots, the Representative receiving the most votes in the third ballot is deemed elected.
127The Speaker, the Deputy Speakers and the chairpersons of parliamentary Committees form the Speaker's Council. The Speaker's Council issues instructions on the organisation of parliamentary work and decides, as specifically provided in this Constitution or in the Parliament's Rules of Procedure, on the procedures to be followed in the consideration of matters in the Parliament. The Speaker's Council may put forward initiatives for the enactment or amendment of Acts governing parliamentary officials or the Parliament's Rules of Procedure, as well as proposals for other provisions governing the work of the Parliament.
129For each electoral term, the Parliament appoints the Grand Committee, the Constitutional Law Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Finance Committee, the Audit Committee and the other standing Committees provided in the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure. In addition, the Parliament appoints Committees ad hoc for the preparation of, or inquiry into, a given matter. (596/2007, entry into force 1.6.2007)
130The Grand Committee shall have twenty-five members. The Constitutional Law Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Finance Committee shall have at least seventeen members each. The other standing Committees shall have at least eleven members each. In addition, each Committee shall have the necessary number of alternate members.
135The election of the parliamentary delegates in a body established under an international agreement or in another international body shall be governed by an Act or by the Parliament's Rules of Procedure.
137The Committees and the other parliamentary organs are appointed during the first parliamentary session of an electoral term for the duration of that term, unless otherwise provided in this Constitution, or in the Parliament's Rules of Procedure or in the specific rules of procedure laid down by the Parliament for a given parliamentary organ. However, on the proposal of the Speaker's Council, the Parliament may agree to the reappointment of a committee or organ during the electoral term.
140The Parliament appoints for a term of four years a Parliamentary Ombudsman and two Deputy Ombudsmen, who shall have outstanding knowledge of law. A Deputy Ombudsman may have a substitute as provided in more detail by an Act. The provisions on the Ombudsman apply, in so far as appropriate, to a Deputy Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsman’s substitute. (802/2007, entry into force 1.10.2007)
141The Parliament, after having obtained the opinion of the Constitutional Law Committee, may, for extremely weighty reasons, dismiss the Ombudsman before the end of his or her term by a decision supported by at least two thirds of the votes cast.
143Matters are initiated for consideration in the Parliament on the basis of a Government proposal or a motion submitted by the Government or a motion submitted by a Representative, or in another manner provided in this Constitution or in the Parliament's Rules of Procedure.
149Government proposals, motions by Representatives, reports submitted to the Parliament and other matters, as provided for in this Constitution or in the Parliament's Rules of Procedure, shall be prepared in Committees before their final consideration in a plenary session of the Parliament.
151A legislative proposal and a proposal on the Parliament's Rules of Procedure are considered in plenary session in two readings. However, a legislative proposal left in abeyance and an Act left unconfirmed are considered in one reading only. Other matters are considered in the plenary session in a single reading.
152Decisions in plenary session are made by a simple majority of the votes cast, unless specifically otherwise provided in this Constitution. In the event of a tie, the decision is made by drawing lots, except where a qualified majority is required for the adoption of a motion. More detailed provisions on voting procedure are laid down in the Parliament's Rules of Procedure.
154The Speaker convenes the plenary sessions, presents the matters on the agenda, oversees the debate and ensures that the Constitution is complied with in the consideration of matters in plenary session.
155The Speaker shall not refuse to include a matter on the agenda or a motion in a vote, unless he or she considers it to be contrary to the Constitution, another Act or a prior decision of the Parliament. In this event, the Speaker shall explain the reasons for the refusal. If the Parliament does not accept the decision of the Speaker, the matter is referred to the Constitutional Law Committee, which shall without delay rule whether the action of the Speaker has been correct.
158A group of at least twenty Representatives may address an interpellation to the Government or to an individual Minister on a matter within the competence of the Government or the Minister. The interpellation shall be replied to in a plenary session of the Parliament within fifteen days of the date when the interpellation was brought to the attention of the Government.
159At the conclusion of the consideration of the interpellation, a vote of confidence shall be taken by the Parliament, provided that a motion of no confidence in the Government or the Minister has been put forward during the debate.
162At the conclusion of the consideration of a statement, a vote of confidence in the Government or a Minister shall be taken, provided that a motion of no confidence in the Government or the Minister has been put forward during the debate. No decision on confidence in the Government or its Member shall be made in the consideration of a report.
164Each Representative has the right to address questions to a Minister on matters within the Minister's competence. Provisions on the questions and the answers are laid down in the Parliament's Rules of Procedure.
169The Government shall submit to the Parliament annual reports on governmental activities and on the measures undertaken in response to parliamentary decisions, as well as annual reports on State finances and adherence to the budget. (1112/2011, entry into force 1.3.2012)
172The Parliament has the right to receive from the Government the information it needs in the consideration of matters. The appropriate Minister shall ensure that Committees and other parliamentary organs receive without delay the necessary documents and other information in the possession of the authorities.
173A Committee has the right to receive information from the Government or the appropriate Ministry on a matter within its competence. The Committee may issue a statement to the Government or the Ministry on the basis of the information.
174A Representative has the right to information which is in the possession of authorities and which is necessary for the performance of the duties of the Representative, in so far as the information is not secret or it does not pertain to a State budget proposal under preparation.
177Minister has the right to attend and to participate in debates in plenary sessions of the Parliament even if the Minister is not a Representative. A Minister may not be a member of a Committee of the Parliament. When performing the duties of the President of the Republic under section 59, a Minister may not participate in parliamentary work.
178The Parliamentary Ombudsman and the Chancellor of Justice of the Government may attend and participate in debates in plenary sessions of the Parliament when their reports or other matters taken up on their initiative are being considered.
180Consideration of matters unfinished in one parliamentary session continues in the following parliamentary session, unless parliamentary elections have been held in the meantime. When necessary, the consideration of an international matter pending in the Parliament may continue in the parliamentary session following parliamentary elections. (1112/2011, entry into force 1.3.2012)
182The plenary sessions of the Parliament are open to the public, unless the Parliament for a very weighty reason decides otherwise for a given matter. The Parliament publishes its papers, as provided in more detail in the Parliament's Rules of Procedure.
183The meetings of Committees are not open to the public. However, a Committee may open its meeting to the public during the time when it is gathering information for the preparation of a matter. The minutes and other related documents of the Committees shall be made available to the public, unless a Committee for a compelling reason decides otherwise for a given matter.
184The members of a Committee shall observe the level of confidentiality considered necessary by the Committee. However, when considering matters relating to Finland's international relations or European Union affairs, the members of a Committee shall observe the level of confidentiality considered necessary by the Foreign Affairs Committee or the Grand Committee after having heard the opinion of the Government.
187The Government and the other authorities shall submit the documents necessary for a matter to be taken up for consideration in the Parliament both in Finnish and Swedish. Likewise, the parliamentary replies and communications, the reports and statements of the Committees, as well as the written proposals of the Speaker's Council, shall be written in Finnish and Swedish.
189More detailed provisions on the procedures to be followed in the Parliament, as well as on parliamentary organs and parliamentary work are issued in the Parliament's Rules of Procedure. The Parliament's Rules of Procedure shall be adopted in plenary session following the procedure for the consideration of legislative proposals and published in the Statutes of Finland.
190The Parliament may issue instructions for the detailed arrangement of internal administration, for elections to be carried out by the Parliament and for other parliamentary work. In addition, the Parliament may issue rules of procedure for the organs appointed by it.
194At least fifty thousand Finnish citizens entitled to vote have the right to submit an initiative for the enactment of an Act to the Parliament, as provided by an Act. (1112/2011, entry into force 1.3.2012)
197The President of the Republic is elected by a direct vote for a term of six years. The President shall be a native-born Finnish citizen. The same person may be elected President for no more than two consecutive terms of office.
198The candidate who receives more than half of the votes cast in the election shall be elected President. If none of the candidates has received a majority of the votes cast, a new election shall be held between the two candidates who have received most votes. In the new election, the candidate receiving the most votes is elected President. If only one presidential candidate has been nominated, he or she is appointed President without an election.
199The right to nominate a candidate in the election for President is held by any registered political party from whose candidate list at least one Representative was elected to the Parliament in the most recent parliamentary elections, as well as by any group of twenty thousand persons who have the right to vote. The time of the election and the procedure in the election of a President are laid down by an Act.