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Voting: a perk of Finnish citizenship

January 16, 2012

The presidential election is coming soon, and I am excited – because I actually get to vote in my first presidential election. Being a Finnish citizen has its perks. Being a Canadian outside of Canada (for more than five years) means you lose the right to have a voice in Canadian affairs – and frankly that kind of irks me. Every Finn – no matter how long they have lived outside of Finland can vote in parliamentary and presidential elections. Voting in municipal elections (which are held every four years) is a little more logistically challenging I would assume. In fact it is something I don’t know about, so I’ll try to find out and report back here.

In any case, advanced voting is open from January 11-17. Voters outside of Finland had until January 15 to cast their ballots.

Election day is on January 22. Round two, if there is no clear winner in the first round (50% of the vote), is on February 5.

What is interesting about presidential elections is while candidates are running on a party ticket; the President-elect must renounce his/her party ties when they assume office. And the Finnish parliament (Eduskunta) has been doing a lot to curb the powers of the President in recent sessions. There are two things that I believe the President should always have a hand in, international affairs and the signing of new laws. International affairs is not the Prime Minister’s job (necessarily), as he (or she) should be running the day to day affairs of this country. The President should also be the one to sign off on new laws (and should be allowed to kick the collective but of the government when they drag their feet on contentious issues like the laws regarding drunk driving – see my last post…)

I already have a pretty good idea of who I am going to vote for – and definitely have a good idea of who I won’t vote for… The Mr. is undecided, but also headily maintained yesterday that he knew who would not get his vote.

Here’s a good summary in English of the election and the candidates.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. anonymous permalink
    January 17, 2012 11:41 am

    Municipal elections require one to be a legal resident in that municipality. Even foreigners get to vote in those. For more information on who gets to vote, see Kuntalaki, 26 § (in Finnish, so you will need to translate).

    • January 25, 2012 8:36 am

      Anonymous, just a quick question that maybe you can answer. If a Finn (or a permanent resident of Finland) is out of the country – say on a temporary work assignment, can that person still vote in a municipal election?

      I have voted in municipal elections – twice in fact, when I was still holding a permanent residence permit….

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