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51 municipalities unrepresented in new county councils

Pirkanmaa has the most municipalities without representation, as candidates from Tampere took more than half of the seats on the new council.

Finland elected new county councils on Sunday, but some municipalities did not get a single candidate on the new regional bodies. Image: Marjut Suomi / Yle

51 municipalities will not have a representative in the new regional assemblies elected on Sunday to manage health and social care and emergency services in Finland.

In total 292 municipalities were voting on Sunday, meaning around 16 percent of all local councils won't have a county councillor.

The region around Tampere, Pirkanmaa, is the worst-affected with nine municipalities left without a councillor on the new county council.

Each of the new county councils was elected on an open-list proportional basis, meaning that voters could pick any candidate from across the council area. As there were no electoral districts within each county council, there were no safeguards in place to prevent certain areas ending up without representation.

The largest county councils were in North Ostrobothnia, Pirkanmaa and South-West Finland, where the new bodies contain 79 councillors. According to residence data from the Ministry of Justice, in Pirkanmaa 39 spots will be taken by candidates from Tampere.

In North Ostrobothnia, 37 of the 79 are from Oulu, and in Southwest Finland, 30 councillors are from Turku.

In Central Finland 36 of the 69 new county councillors live in Jyväskylä.

Votes dispersed too widely

The situation is a disappointment to people in those municipalities that won't have their 'own' councillor in the new bodies.

Ruovesi is one of the municipalities in Pirkanmaa from which councillors were not elected. Riikka Lehti of the Christian Democrats told Yle on Sunday that she was dissatisfied with the situation.

She suggested that maybe people in the town should have focused on a few candidates, regardless of party affiliation.

"Votes were a bit too dispersed this time," said Lehti.

Small municipalities' situation is not as bad as predicted before the election, however. Some forecasts had suggested as many as 60 municipalities could miss out on their own councillors.

One factor could be that people are more likely to vote in small towns than in big cities.

"Turnout suggests that small municipalities have above-average turnout, and they probably vote for candidates from their own towns," said election researcher Sami Borg in Yle's election results broadcast.