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Advance voting begins ahead of parliamentary elections

Finland goes to the polls on Sunday, April 19 to vote for 200 members of parliament to serve a new four-year term. Advance voting is available in each of the country's municipalities from April 8 to 14. Every Finnish citizen who has reached the age of 18 no later than the day of the election is entitled to vote and this year, 4.46 million people are eligible.

Eduskunnan täysistunto.
Finns elect their MPs every four years using a direct proportional system. Image: Yle

Advance voting in the 2015 parliamentary elections in Finland has begun in various polling stations throughout the country. The official Election Day is Sunday, April 19, when all of the polling stations will be open between 9 am and 8 pm. On Election Day, voters are only able to cast their votes at the polling station specified in the polling card sent to their home in advance.

Parliamentary elections are held every four years in Finland, at which time MPs are elected in direct, proportional and secret ballots, where every citizen has one vote. The elections are performed by the Ministry of Justice, not Parliament itself.

Find an advance polling station near you

The Ministry of Justice’s website www.vaalit.fi contains information in English on the elections, as well as additional background information on referendums, political parties and citizens’ participation in Finland. The site features a list of advance voting stations in each of Finland’s municipalities.

The Parliament decided in 2013 to merge certain electoral districts in order to create 13 larger districts. This year, the electoral districts of North Savo and Northern Karelia have been merged into a new district called Savonia-Karelia, while the electoral districts of Kymi and South Savo have been merged into a new district called South-Eastern Finland.

The number of MPs that represent each district depends on the population, with the exception of the autonomous Åland islands, that always have one MP representing them in the Finnish Parliament.

New citizens and young people encouraged to vote

In preparation for the 2015 general elections, Finland’s Ministry of Justice sent a letter to 21,000 persons who recently acquired Finnish citizenship and are now eligible to vote in parliamentary elections for the first time. Another 54,000 letters were sent to young voters who are also just now old enough to vote.

The Finnish broadcasting company Yle conducted interviews in English with each of Finland’s political party leaders earlier this spring. The latest polls indicate that the Centre Party will be the new majority party, and therefore win the prime minister’s seat in the new government. How the rest of the voting will play out is still anybody’s guess, as a full one-third of Finland’s voters have told pollsters that they are still undecided.

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