2003 Finnish parliamentary election

Parliamentary elections were held in Finland on 16 March 2003.[1] The Centre Party led by Anneli Jäätteenmäki overtook the Social Democratic Party (SDP) to become the largest party in the Eduskunta. This was credited mainly to Jäätteenmäki's powerful leadership and modernization of the party still often viewed as agrarian and conservative by many. However, the SDP actually won some seats and increased its share of the vote, losing in the number of total popular votes only by a few thousand.

2003 Finnish parliamentary election

← 1999 16 March 2003 2007 →

All 200 seats to the Parliament
101 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout66.7%
  First party Second party Third party
  Anneli Jäätteenmäki Paavo Lipponen Ville Itälä
Leader Anneli Jäätteenmäki Paavo Lipponen Ville Itälä
Party Centre Social Democratic National Coalition
Leader since 2000 1993 2001
Last election 48 seats, 22.4% 51 seats, 22.9% 46 seats, 21.0%
Seats won 55 53 40
Seat change Increase7 Increase2 Decrease6
Popular vote 689,391 683,223 517,904
Percentage 24.7% 24.5% 18.6%
Swing Increase2.3pp Increase1.6pp Decrease2.4pp

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  Suvi-Anne Siimes Osmo Soininvaara Bjarne Kallis
Leader Suvi-Anne Siimes Osmo Soininvaara Bjarne Kallis
Party Left Alliance Green League Christian Democrat
Leader since 1998 2001 2001
Last election 20 seats, 10.9% 11 seats, 7.3% 7 seats, 5.34%
Seats won 19 14 7
Seat change Decrease1 Increase3 Decrease3
Popular vote 277,152 223,564 148,987
Percentage 9.9% 8.0% 5.3%
Swing Decrease1.0pp Increase0.7pp Increase1.1pp

  Seventh party Eighth party Ninth party
  Jan-Erik Enestam Timo Soini Yrjö Hakanen
Leader Jan-Erik Enestam Timo Soini Yrjö Hakanen
Party Swedish People's Finns Communist Party
Leader since 1998 1997 1990
Last election 11 seats, 5.1% 1 seat, 1.0% 0 seats, 0.8%
Seats won 8 3 0
Seat change Decrease3 Increase2 Steady0
Popular vote 128,824 43,816 21,079
Percentage 4.6% 1.6% 0.8%
Swing Decrease0.5pp Increase0.6pp Steady0.0pp

Prime Minister before election

Paavo Lipponen
Social Democratic

Prime Minister

Anneli Jäätteenmäki
Centre

The Green League achieved its best results ever, but the Swedish People's Party suffered losses. The Christian Democrats gained votes but lost seats. This was partly because in 1999 and before Christian Democrats had been in an election coalition with Centre Party and benefited from this, while the Centre Party had lost seats due to the arrangement, and thus discontinued it starting from 2003. The Left Alliance continued its slow decline, while the small populist Finns Party did not do as well as some had expected.

Electoral systemEdit

The election was held under the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation, where the electoral district voted directly for the individual candidate, but each vote also benefitted the candidate's party.

The country was divided into fifteen electoral districts, with the boundaries corresponding to those of administrative regions (in some cases several regions have been grouped into a single constituency), with the exception that the city of Helsinki serves as its own constituency, instead of being part of the Uusimaa region in this case. Each constituency elected a number of representatives to the Eduskunta based on its population. The autonomous region of Åland had a special status with one representative even if its population was not large enough.

Candidates for the parliamentary election were allowed to be set by political parties and electoral associations. Any Finnish citizen over the age of 18 was eligible for candidacy, apart from incapacitated persons and professional soldiers. Each party or electoral union was allowed to set a maximum of 14 candidates per electoral district, or, in the case the district elected more than 14 members of parliament, an amount equal to that of the representatives elected.

Each Finnish citizen aged 18 or over on the election day had the right to vote in the election, no matter where they lived. The electorate consisted of a total of 4,220,951 people, 4,015,552 of whom were resident in Finland and 205,399 abroad.

ResultsEdit

Party Votes % Seats +/–
Centre Party 689,391 24.7 55 +7
Social Democratic Party 683,223 24.5 53 +2
National Coalition Party 517,904 18.6 40 –6
Left Alliance 277,152 9.9 19 –1
Green League 223,564 8.0 14 +3
Christian Democrats 148,987 5.3 7 –3
Swedish People's Party 128,824 4.6 8 –3
Finns Party 43,816 1.6 3 +2
Communist Party of Finland 21,079 0.8 0 0
Forces for Change in Finland 11,485 0.4 0 New
Liberals 8,776 0.3 0 0
Kirjava ”Puolue” – Elonkehän Puolesta 6,659 0.2 0 0
Pensioners for People 5,346 0.2 0 0
Finnish People's Blue-Whites 4,579 0.2 0 New
Åland Coalition 4,306 0.2 1 0
Communist Workers' Party – For Peace and Socialism 2,908 0.1 0 0
Finland Rises – People Unites 2,640 0.1 0 New
For the Poor 1,448 0.1 0 New
Joint Responsibility Party 404 0.0 0 New
Others 9,266 0.3 0
Invalid/blank votes 23,943
Total 2,815,700 100 200 0
Registered voters/turnout 4,220,951 66.7
Source: Tilastokeskus[2]
Popular vote
KESK
24.69%
SDP
24.47%
KOK
18.55%
VAS
9.93%
VIHR
8.01%
SKL
5.34%
RKP
4.61%
PS
1.57%
Others
2.83%
Parliament seats
KESK
27.50%
SDP
26.50%
KOK
20.00%
VAS
9.50%
VIHR
7.00%
RKP
4.00%
SKL
3.50%
PS
1.50%
Others
0.50%

By provinceEdit

Province Centre Party Social Democratic Party National Coalition Party Left Alliance Green League Christian League Swedish People's Party True Finns Communist Electorate Votes Valid votes Invalid votes
Southern Savonia 34,205 27,030 11,283 2,282 3,410 4,810 0 472 417 130,103 85,077 84,520 780
Northern Savonia 49,301 26,906 15,425 15,429 7,399 12,093 0 851 1,106 197,514 129,585 129,081 906
North Karelia 33,026 30,639 8,498 4,326 5,767 3,798 0 635 837 132,484 88,225 87,824 666
Kainuu 22,756 5,217 3,201 10,142 1,063 1,731 41 222 291 68,445 45,093 44,958 313
Uusimaa 81,039 181,363 176,712 61,089 103,523 25,944 54,262 22,277 4,021 1,005,079 725,654 725,657 6,514
Eastern Uusimaa 6,037 12,459 6,041 2,802 3,285 1,198 14,977 328 159 68,350 48,491 48,304 455
Southwest Finland 43,552 61,367 64,823 26,515 21,250 9,597 13,081 845 1,615 351,346 248,253 248,369 1,995
Tavastia Proper 17,295 30,035 18,466 7,716 5,165 7,429 0 313 796 129,357 89,575 88,830 986
Päijänne Tavastia 17,464 30,254 22,671 9,044 6,251 10,996 0 605 749 154,705 100,639 100,024 1,022
Kymenlaakso 22,245 33,398 20,862 9,788 4,907 4,888 0 320 650 147,186 98,669 97,982 1,061
South Karelia 21,882 26,169 14,050 2,166 2,860 4,550 0 393 485 108,192 73,807 73,351 720
Central Finland 48,532 35,480 19,730 13,199 9,027 10,278 0 510 1,678 206,066 139,519 139,024 1,158
Southern Ostrobothnia 56,649 14,857 17,614 3,383 2,551 5,848 204 7,890 164 150,030 110,304 110,189 581
Ostrobothnia 9,348 17,670 8,987 5,597 2,574 8,542 42,889 1,491 275 132,208 97,508 97,794 734
Satakunta 36,238 38,369 21,662 19,330 4,492 5,908 0 1,926 280 186,492 129,822 129,087 1,166
Pirkanmaa 40,957 63,382 56,443 30,979 24,050 14,991 0 1,220 5,430 355,780 248,165 247,229 1,968
Central Ostrobothnia 17,589 6,512 1,882 1,836 824 4,941 2,837 1,858 216 53,322 38,683 38,656 306
Northern Ostrobothnia 85,580 27,384 19,148 25,462 13,014 10,601 312 1,496 1,571 274,057 187,443 187,297 1,377
Lapland 45,696 14,732 10,406 26,067 2,152 844 221 164 339 145,397 101,369 101,930 936
Åland Islands 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 19,439 11,715 11,651 299
Source: European Election Database

AftermathEdit

The Council of State, or the Finnish cabinet, was formed after the parliamentary election by the Centre Party, with its leader Anneli Jäätteenmäki as Prime Minister. A coalition government was formed, composing of the two largest parties of the Eduskunta, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Centre Party, and a minor coalition partner, the Swedish People's Party, who has a history of being a partner in government since 1976. The new cabinet had eight ministers from both the SDP and the Centre Party, and two ministers from the Swedish People's Party.

However, this proved to be one of the shortest-lived cabinets in Finnish history, lasting only 69 days, after the Iraq leak scandal led to the government falling on 24 June 2003. A new cabinet was formed by the Centre Party's Matti Vanhanen, with largely the same composition as the previous cabinet.

Further readingEdit

  • Arter, David (July 2003). "From the 'rainbow coalition' back down to 'red earth'? the 2003 finnish general election". West European Politics. 26 (3): 153–162. doi:10.1080/01402380312331280628.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p606 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ Eduskuntavaalit 1927–2003 Tilastokeskus 2004

External linksEdit