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Sámi Parliamentary Candidates Named

The list of candidates has been released ahead of this autumn's election to the Sámi Parliament - the central administrative body of northern Finland's indigenous people.

Forty-five candidates are running for seats in the 21-member body, slightly more than in the last election four years ago. Voting begins in early September and ends a month later. There are more than 5300 eligible voters.

The Sámi Parliament (or Sámediggi) was established in 1996 to oversee Sámi cultural autonomy, which is guaranteed by the Finnish constitution. It cooperates with corresponding bodies in neighbouring Norway and Sweden.

According to Statistics Finland, 0.03 percent of the Finnish population speak Sámi (Lappish) as their mother language. That figure has been steady since at least 1990, but was twice as high in 1950.

Three separate dialects of the language are spoken in Finland: North Sámi, Inari Sámi and Skolt Sámi.

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