The Constitution of Finland (1999)
The Constitution of Finland
11 June 1999
(731/1999, amendments up to 817/2018 included)
Chapter 1 – Fundamental provisions
Section 1 – The Constitution
Finland is a sovereign republic.
The 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.
Finland 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).
Section 2 – Democracy and the rule of law
The powers of the State in Finland are vested in the people, who are represented by the Parliament.
Democracy entails the right of the individual to participate in and influence the development of society and his or her living conditions.
The exercise of public powers shall be based on an Act. In all public activity, the law shall be strictly observed.
Section 3 – Parliamentarism and the separation of powers
The legislative powers are exercised by the Parliament, which shall also decide on State fin ances.
The governmental powers are exercised by thePresident of the Republic and the Government, the members of which shall have the confidence of the Parliament.
The judicial powers are exercised by independent courts of law, with the Supreme Court and the Supreme Administrative Court as the highest instances.
Section 4 – The Territoryof Finland
The territory of Finland is indivisible. The national borders can not be altered without the consent of the Parliament.
Section 5 – Finnish citizenship
A child acquires Finnish citizenship at birth and through thecitizenship 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.
No one can be divested of or released fromhis 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.
Chapter 5 – The President of the Republic and the Government
Section 54 – Election of the President of the Republic
The President of the Republic is elected by a direct vote for a termof 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.
The 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 thetwo candidates who have received most votes. In the new election, thecandidatereceiving themost votes is elected President. If only one presidential candidate has been nominated, he or sheis appointed President without an election.
The right to nominate a candidatein the election for President is held by any registered political party fromwhose candidate list at least one Representative was elected to theParliament in the most recent parliamentary elections, as well as by any group of twenty thousand persons who have theright to vote. The time of the election and the procedure in the election of a President are laid down by an Act.
Section 55 – The presidential term
The President of the Republic assumes office on thefirst day of the calendar month following his or her election into office.
The term of the President ends when the President elected in the next election assumes office.
If the President dies or if the Government declares that thePresident is permanently unable to carry out the duties of the presidency, a new President shall be elected as soon as possible.
Section 56 – Solemn affirmation of the President
When thePresident of the Republic assumes office, he or she shall make the following solemn affirmation before the Parliament:
“I, , elected by thepeople of Finland as the President of the Republic, hereby affirmth at in my presidential duties I shall sincerely and conscientiously observe theConstitution and the laws of the Republic, and to the best of my ability promote the wellbeing of the people of Finland.”
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. Legislativemotions 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 an d other matters brought for its consideration, as well as on their relation to international human rights treaties.
Chapter 9 – Administration of justice
Section 98 – Courts of law
The Supreme Court, the Courts of Appeal and the District Courts are the general courts of law.
The Supreme Administrative Court and the regional Administrative Courts are the general courts of administrative law.
Provisions on special courts of law, administering justice in specifically defined fields, are laid down by an Act.
Provisional courts shall not be established.
Section 99 – Duties of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Administrative Court
Justice in civil, commercial and criminal matters is in the final instance administered by the Supreme Court. Justice in administrative matters is in the final instance administered by the Supreme Administrative Court.
The highest courts supervise the administration of justice in their own fields of competence. They may submit proposals to the Government for the initiation of legislative action.
Section 100 – Composition of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Administrative Court
The Supreme Court and the Supreme Administrative Court are composed of the President of the Court and the requisite number of Justices.
The Supreme Court and the Supreme Administrative Court have a competent quorum when five members are present,unless a different quorum has been laid down by an Act.
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