Parliamentary elections 2007, quality description

1. Relevance of statistical information

1.1 Summary of the information content of statistics

Statistics Finland produces official statistics from parliamentary elections containing key data on the following:

  • votes gained by parties and their proportions by municipality divided into votes gained during advance voting and votes gained on the election day;
  • number and proportion of votes gained by female candidates by party and constituency;
  • the number of persons entitled to vote and persons who voted by gender and municipality both during advance voting and on the election day;
  • the number of candidates and elected representatives by party and gender, and the number of votes to all candidates and the comparative figures by constituency.

Since 1995 preliminary data, or statistics based on the preliminary calculation of votes, have been issued on the election night on the Internet as well. Preliminary data have been updated with the data of the confirmed results for the years 1995, 1999 and 2003. The publication of preliminary data in paper format was discontinued, and since 1999 the Internet has been their only publishing channel. From 1983 onwards data is available in the Statistics Finland free of charge StatFin online service (as from 2003 data is also available by voting district).

1.2 Essential concepts

Holding of elections

According to the Finnish Constitution, the powers of the state are vested in the people who are represented by the parliament. Members of parliament are elected in direct and proportional elections according to the Government's decision on how the seats in parliament are allocated to constituencies. Parliamentary elections are held every four years and the election day is the third Sunday in March of the election year.

Legislation on elections

With the revision of election legislation in 1998 all provisions on elections were collected into one single act, the Elections Act (714/1998), which entered into force on 8 October 1998. Elections are held according to the election legislation in force. More detailed information is available on the Internet pages of the Ministry of Justice at www.vaalit.fi (=> elections => legislation) and www.finlex.fi/en/ (=>Translations of Finnish acts and decrees => Elections Act (714/1998)).

The main principles of holding elections

All general elections in Finland are held according to the following principles

  • the elections are direct
  • the elections are proportional
  • the elections are secret
  • the right to vote is universal and equal
  • each voter must vote for him/herself
  • voting must take place in the presence of election authorities
  • the Finnish election system is a combination of voting for individuals and parties.

Right to vote

Every Finnish citizen is entitled to vote in parliamentary elections provided the person has reached the age of 18 not later than on the day of the election. Franchise of Finnish citizens who are old enough to vote is, at present, nearly universal. In state elections a voter can be disenfranchised only on the basis of an elections offence.

An enfranchised person may vote either 1) during advance voting or 2) on the election day Sunday.

Eligibility

Everyone with the right to vote and who is not under guardianship can be a candidate in parliamentary elections. A person holding military office cannot, however, be elected as a representative. In addition certain high officials, such as the Chancellor of Justice of the Government and the members of the Supreme Court may not serve as representatives. By expansion they may not stand as candidates in elections unless they resign from office.

Nomination of candidates

A party registered in the register of political parties has a right to nominate 14 candidates in each constituency or, if more than 14 Members of Parliament are chosen from a constituency, at most as many candidates as there are members to be elected from the constituency. In addition to parties, a voters' association founded by at least 100 enfranchised persons in one constituency has the right to nominate a candidate in parliamentary elections. One person may stand as a candidate in a single election only for one party or voters' association and in only one constituency. In the constituency of Ahvenanmaa, a voter's association founded by at least 30 enfranchised persons has the right to nominate a candidate in parliamentary elections and another person as the candidate's substitute.

Voting percentage = proportion of voters of enfranchised persons

Statistics on general elections include four different voting percentages.

  1. The voting percentage of Finnish citizens resident in Finland.
  2. The voting percentage of Finnish citizens resident abroad.
  3. The total voting percentage which includes both the above.
  4. A separate percentage for persons belonging to group 2 above and living in Sweden.

Valid and invalid ballots taken into account in the advance voting

As a rule advance votes are counted on the actual election day, Sunday, at 15.00 p.m. The count may be advanced in large constituencies; the earliest possible starting time is at 12 noon. The objective is to finish the counting of advance votes by 20.00 p.m., from which time onwards advance data can be released.

Constituencies

For the purpose of parliamentary elections, the country has been divided into 15 constituencies on the basis of regions. In parliamentary elections the seats in parliament are allocated to constituencies according to a Government decision. According to law, one representative is elected from the Ahvenanmaa constituency and the remaining 199 seats are allocated proportionally to the other constituencies according to their population of Finnish citizens. The Government decides on the allocation of seats in parliament to constituencies in good time ahead of the elections on the basis of data in the Population Information System.

Changes in constituencies and municipalities and consolidations of municipalities

Changes in constituencies and municipalities as well as consolidations of municipalities in various years' elections are published on the Internet in the StatFin online service and in the traditional paper publication Parliamentary elections.

Municipalities are placed into constituencies on the basis of the current constituency division. The statistics uses the current statistical division into municipalities (Statistics Finland, Municipalities and Regional Divisions Based on Municipalities).
In statistics, municipalities are divided into urban, semi-urban and rural municipalities on the basis of the share of their population living in urban settlements and the number of people living in the municipality's largest urban settlement. The classification is based on the definition of urban settlements made every five years in connection with population censuses and on the data thus obtained about the population living in urban settlements.

  1. Urban municipalities are those municipalities in which at least 90 per cent of the population lives in urban settlements, or in which the population of the largest urban settlement is at least15,000.
  2. Semi-urban municipalities are those municipalities in which at least 60 per cent but less than 90 per cent of the population lives in urban settlements, or in which the population of the largest urban settlement is at least 4,000 but less than 15,000.
  3. Rural municipalities are those municipalities in which less than 60 per cent of the population lives in urban settlements, and in which the population of the largest urban settlement is less than 15,000, as well as those municipalities in which at least 60 per cent but less than 90 per cent of the population lives in urban settlements, and in which the population of the largest urban settlement is less than 4,000.

Classifications used

Statistics Finland's classification of municipalities.

Data collection methods and data sources

Statistics Finland receives basic election data from the Ministry of Justice's election information system, whose technical implementation is assigned to TietoEnator Group.

1.3 Acts, decrees and recommendations

Statistics Finland's task is to compile statistics describing conditions in society (Statistics Finland Act of 24 January 1992/48). These include also election statistics. Statistics Finland's rules of procedure assigns the production of election statistics to the Population Statistics department (Statistics Finland's Rules of Procedure TK-00-1756-01).

2. Methodological description of the statistical survey

The statistics are based on total data.

The basic data of the statistics is based on the Ministry of Justice's election information system, which consists of six subsystems. They include:

  1. basic data on constituencies, municipalities and voting districts as well as election authorities, among others;
  2. data on polling stations (polling station register), which includes data on general advance polling stations and polling stations on the election day;
  3. franchise data (voting register), for which data on all persons entitled to vote is collected by the Population Register Centre on the 46th day before the election day; The voting register includes the personal data of each enfranchised person (name, personal identification number, constituency, municipality of residence and polling station) that was included in the Population Information System on the 51st day before the election day; The voting register gains legal force on the 12th day before the election day at 12 noon;
  4. data on candidates (candidate register) in which the following data on each candidate in the elections are entered: name, candidate number, profession, municipality of residence, party/voters' association that has nominated the candidate, and personal identity number;
  5. a centralised calculation system to which the electoral district committees and the central election committees submit their results of the elections;
  6. statistics and information service by means of which the results of the elections and other statistical data are transmitted to the media and to Statistics Finland.

Statistics Finland's election data system comprises four election data files: a regional file, a party file, a candidate file and a candidate register.

Background analysis of candidates and elected representatives

The analysis is based on the national candidate register (Ministry of Justice) and on the results of the preliminary calculation as well as on Statistics Finland's employment statistics data.

Background analysis of support of the parties

The analysis is based on the data derived from the voting register (Population Register Centre and Ministry of Justice) and on the results of the preliminary calculation as well as on Statistics Finland's employment statistics data.

3. Correctness and accuracy of data

The basic data of the election statistics are based on the Ministry of Justice's election information system, which can be considered reliable. In addition, the municipal central election committees (election authorities as defined in the Election Act) supply information on advance voting from a few dozen municipalities with forms made at Statistics Finland.

4. Timeliness and accuracy of data

The confirmed data always differ somewhat from the figures of the preliminary statistics. The ?preliminary results' after the election night serve users before the confirmed result is obtained.

The results change once the result is confirmed in all respects: by voting district, municipality, constituency, party and number of votes gained by all candidates and by elected representatives, whereby even their mutual order may change.

5. Accessibility and transparency/clarity of data

The preliminary statistics are published on the Internet, in the StatFin online service and on the statistics pages on parliamentary elections as soon as possible starting from the election night. Election data by municipality and voting district (from 2003) and the numbers of votes gained by candidates and elected representatives are entered in the StatFin online service.

Reviews and time series tables in addition to the tables concerning the elections in question are available in three languages (Finnish, Swedish and English) on the statistics pages on parliamentary elections. The second, or final, data are supplied to Statistics Finland after the election result is confirmed. After the confirmation of the election result, the data are released (approximately three weeks after the elections) on the statistics pages on the Internet (the preliminary data also remains accessible on the Internet pages) and the StatFin online service is updated.

Key election results on parliamentary elections have been issued in the online election map service since 1995.

A traditional paper publication on the parliamentary elections is also produced during the year after the elections.

The chargeable ALTIKA regional database contains results on parliamentary elections since 1983.

Statistics Finland also produces chargeable election information services, such as the background analyses and the election map service. (The election map services and analyses for previous elections have been entered on the statistics pages later on.)

6. Comparability of statistics

The municipal classification of the election year is used in the statistics. The new statistical grouping of municipalities (urban, semi-urban and rural) was taken into use as from the year 2000. Prior to that, municipalities were grouped as follows: towns and other municipalities. Changes in constituencies and municipalities between the elections have been taken into account in statistics that include comparative data with the results of the previous elections.

Election results (since 1908) are presented as time series tables on the statistics pages on parliamentary elections. Preliminary statistics on parliamentary elections have been released on the Internet since 1995.
In addition, the StatFin online service contains a time series on parliamentary elections from 1983 (NB From 2003 also data by voting district). This time series is available in the StatFin online service also in English.
The paper publication Parliamentary elections contains recurrent time series updated with the result data of the elections in question and individual tables concerning those elections as well as the so-called basic table by municipality for the election year that includes comparative data from the previous elections.
Publications of different years contain information on possible changes compared with the previous elections, for example in constituencies and municipalities.

7. Coherence and consistency/uniformity

The Ministry of Justice publishes general information on different elections together with the national candidate register and election result data on its Internet pages (www.vaalit.fi). The election results issued by the Ministry of Justice differ from those issued by Statistics Finland with regard to advance voters, because they are defined on different grounds:

  • The Ministry of Justice counts the number of advance voters from the number of those entitled to vote
  • Statistics Finland counts the number of advance voters from the number of all persons who voted.

8. Documentation

The classifications used in the statistics can be found on Statistics Finland's homepages.

 


Last updated 8.9.2011

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Parliamentary elections [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-6279. 2007, Parliamentary elections 2007, quality description . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 19.10.2017].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/evaa/2007/evaa_2007_2007-03-22_laa_001_en.html

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