Constitution of Finland (1919)

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Adopted 17 July 1919; later complemented by the Ministerial Responsibility Act of 1922, the Act on the High Court of Impeachment of 1922, and the Parliament Act of 1928. Repealed (alongside the latter three acts) by the current Constitution of Finland on 1 March 2000.

Constitution Act of 1919

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Preamble

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Whereas Finland has become an independent and sovereign state, it has been deemed necessary to develop and consolidate its constitution by new statutes having the character of fundamental laws which, at the same time that they confirm the necessary authority to the executive power, enlarge also the powers of national representation and guarantee the constitutional rights and liberties of citizens. Therefore the present act, in conformity with the decision of the diet taken in accordance with the procedure prescribed by Article 60 of the organic law of the diet of July 20, 1906, gives sanction to the constitution of Finland, the text of which follows. ་

TITLE I. GENERAL PROVISIONS

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Article 1.
Finland is a sovereign Republic, its constitution being established by this law relating to the form of government and by the other fundamental laws.
Article 2.
Sovereign power in Finland belongs to the people, represented by their delegates assembled in a Chamber of Representatives (in Finnish, Eduskunta, in Swedish, Riksdag).
Supreme executive power is vested in the President of the Republic. In addition to the President there shall be for the general government of the state a Council of State (Council of Ministers), consisting of a Minister of State (President of the Council) and of such number of ministers as may be desired.
The judicial power shall be exercised by independent tribunals, and, in final instance, by the Supreme Court and the Supreme Administrative Court.
Article 3.
The territory of the Finnish Republic shall be indivisible. Its boundaries may be modified only with the consent of the Chamber of Representatives.
Article 4.
Finnish nationality appertains as a matter of right to every person born of Finnish parents and to a woman of foreign nationality who has married a Finnish citizen.
A citizen of another country may be admitted to Finnish citizenship in accordance with the conditions and procedure specifically regulated by law.

TITLE II. GENERAL RIGHTS AND CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTION OF FINNISH CITIZENS

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Article 5.
Finnish citizens shall be equal before the law.
Article 6.
Every Finnish citizen shall be protected by law in his health, his honor, his personal liberty, and his property.
The labor power of citizens shall be under the special protection of the state.
Expropriation for public utility purposes with full compensation shall be regulated by law.
Article 7.
Every Finnish citizen shall have the right of sojourn in his country, of freely choosing his place of domicile, and of travelling from one place to another, unless otherwise provided by law.
The right of Finnish citizens to leave the country shall be limited by such special regulations as may be applicable.
Article 8.
Every Finnish citizen shall have the right to worship in public and in private upon condition that he does not violate the law or good morals; he shall be at liberty also, in conformity with the special regulations governing the matter, to leave the religious communion to which he belongs and to join another such communion.
Article 9.
Profession of religion or the fact of belonging to no religion shall have no influence upon the rights and duties of Finnish citizens. In respect to public offices, legal restrictions which are not in conflict herewith shall remain in force until otherwise provided by law.
Article 10.
Finnish citizens shall enjoy freedom of speech and the right of printing and publishing written or pictorial representations without any previous restraint being imposed. They shall also have the right of assembly without previous authorization, for the discussion of public affairs and for all other legitimate purposes, and the right of creating associations for purposes not contrary to the law or good morals.
The rules governing the exercise of these rights shall be established by law.
Article 11.
The domicile of Finnish citizens shall be inviolable.
The conditions under which domiciliary searches may be ordered and carried out shall be determined by law.
Article 12.
The secrecy of postal, telegraphic, and telephonic communication shall be inviolable.
Article 13.
No Finnish citizen shall be tried by any other tribunal than that which has jurisdiction over him in accordance with the law.
Article 14.
Finnish and Swedish shall be the national languages of the Republic.
The right of Finnish citizens to use their mother tongue, whether Finnish or Swedish, before the courts and the administrative authorities, and to receive papers and decisions in such language, shall be guaranteed by law; care shall be taken that the rights of the Finnish population and the rights of the Swedish population of the country shall be protected in accordance with identical principles.
The state shall provide for the intellectual and economic needs of the Finnish and Swedish populations in accordance with identical principles.
Article 15.
No title of nobility nor other hereditary dignity shall be conferred in the Republic.
Article 16.
These provisions concerning the general rights of Finnish citizens shall constitute no obstacle to the establishment by law of restrictions which are necessary in time of war or insurrection, and in respect to persons in the military or naval service, as well as in other cases.

TITLE III. LEGISLATION

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Article 17.
The organization and powers of the Chamber of Representatives are regulated by the organic law of the Chamber of Representatives.
Article 18.
The right to propose a new law or the modification, construction, or repeal of a law in force shall be vested in the President as well as in the Chamber of Representatives.
The President of the Republic shall exercise his right of initiating laws by submitting proposals of law to the Chamber. Proposals of law shall be elaborated by the Council of State. The advice of the Supreme Court or of the Supreme Administrative Court or of both of these courts may be requested upon the subject of the proposals thus submitted. The exercise of the right of initiating laws by the Chamber itself is determined by the organic law of the Chamber of Representatives.
Article 19.
Laws adopted by the Chamber shall be presented to the President of the Republic for his approval. The President may request the advice of the Supreme Court or of the Supreme Administrative Court or of both of these courts in respect to the subject of such a law, according to the nature of the question involved.
The law must be approved in the text adopted by the Chamber. If a law is not approved by the President, it shall nevertheless be enforced without his approval if the Chamber, after a new election, readopts it without alteration by an absolute majority. Otherwise the law shall be regarded as having lapsed.
If the President, within three months after a law has been presented for his approval, has not approved the same it shall be regarded as having been disapproved.
Article 20.
The preamble of every law shall indicate that it has been enacted in conformity with the decision of the Chamber, and, if the law has been enacted in accordance with the procedure required for the enactment of fundamental laws, the same shall be indicated.
Every law, whether it be approved or whether it be in force without the approval of the President, shall be signed by the President and countersigned by the proper Minister, after which it shall be published in the Bulletin of Laws of Finland.
Article 21.
The right of the President to promulgate ordinances is determined by Article 28.
Article 22.
Laws and ordinances, as well as proposals of law submitted by the Government to the Chamber and the responses, statements, and other addresses by the Chamber to the Government, shall be written in the Finnish and the Swedish languages.

TITLE IV. GOVERNMENT AND ADMINISTRATION

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Article 23.
The President of the Republic shall be elected by the people of Finland from among the citizens of Finland for a term of six years.
The election of the President shall be made by three hundred presidential electors. The regulations in force for elections to the Chamber of Representatives shall apply in respect to the right of suffrage and the qualifications of voters in these elections as well as, in so far as these regulations are applicable, to the mode of election, the procedure of voting, and the designation of alternates.
The election of electors shall take place on the fifteenth and sixteenth of January; and on the fifteenth of February following the electors shall assemble under the presidency of the President of the Council in order to proceed to the election of the President. The vote shall be by secret ballot. If candidate obtains more than half of the votes cast, he shall be declared elected; if this does not result, a new ballot shall immediately be taken, and if no candidate obtains an absolute majority this time, another ballot shall be taken between the two candidates who obtain the highest number of votes on the second count. In case of a tie vote the decision shall be by lot.
If a member of the Chamber is elected President his mandate as deputy shall cease. A public functionary who is elected President shall be regarded as having vacated his office by resignation.
If a day fixed in Paragraph 3 of this Article or elsewhere in this constitution falls upon a holiday, the next following work day shall be substituted for it.
Article 24.
The President shall enter upon his duties on the first day of the month of March following his election, and in the presence of the Chamber of Deputies shall make at this time the following solemn declaration:
"I, N. N., elected by the people of Finland President of the Finnish Republic hereby affirm that in the exercise of my presidential functions I will obey and support with loyalty and fidelity the constitution and the laws of the Republic and that I will labor with all my power for the welfare of the Finnish people."
Article 25.
In case of impeachment the functions of the President shall be exercised by the President of the Council. If the impeachment results in conviction, a new President shall be elected as soon as possible, who shall enter upon his duties immediately after the election.
Article 26.
For the exercise of his functions the President shall receive an annual salary, the amount of which shall be fixed by law, which amount shall be neither increased nor diminished during his term of office.
Article 27.
The President shall have power to convoke the Chamber of Representatives in extraordinary session, to issue orders for the holding of parliamentary elections, to open and close the Chamber, as well as to decide upon new elections and to dissolve the Chamber.
Article 28.
In cases not otherwise provided for in this constitution, or in case the right has not been vested in the Council of State, the President shall have the right to promulgate ordinances upon matters which have heretofore been regulated by administrative rules, as well as ordinances regulating details in the application of the laws, the administration of the State domains, as well as the organization and operation of administrative services and public institutions. :Ordinances shall not contain any regulation implying a modification of the law.
Ordinances shall be given and published as provided in Article 20, Paragraph 2, in respect to the subject of laws.
Article 29.
In particular cases the President may, after having secured the advice of the Supreme Court, exercise the pardoning power by remitting or reducing a penalty. In respect, however, to the pardon of a member of the Council or of the Chancellor of Justice, special stipulations must be complied with. A general amnesty may be granted only by a special law.
The President may also grant exemption from the requirements of the law in case the law permits the granting of such exemption.
Article 30.
The President shall be Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of Finland; he shall have power in time of war to transfer his command to another.
Article 31.
The President may grant Finnish nationality to a citizen of another country and may release a Finn from his Finnish nationality.
Article 32.
The President shall supervise the administration of the state, and for this purpose he may demand explanations from the chiefs or directors of administrative services and public institutions, and he may cause inspections to be made.
Article 33.
The relations of Finland with foreign powers shall be conducted by the President. Every treaty with a foreign power must be ratified by the Chamber of Representatives if it contains stipulations falling within the domain of legislation or if the constitution requires such ratification for other reasons. Decisions in respect to peace and war shall be taken the President with the consent of the Chamber.
All communications to foreign powers or to the diplomatic representatives of Finland abroad must be made through the minister having jurisdiction over foreign affairs.
Article 34.
The decision of the President shall be made in the Council of State (Council of Ministers) upon the report of the minister to whose department the question involved belongs.
The decisions of the President in order to be valid must be signed by the President and countersigned by the minister who is in charge of the matter. This rule, however, shall not apply to the matters referred to in Articles 32 and 47.
If the decision of the President concerns the entire Council it shall be countersigned by the reporter of the Council. In respect to military questions touching the command, military nominations, and the counter signature of decisions of the President in these matters, special regulations shall be laid down.
The Minister who countersigns a decision of the President shall be responsible for the correctness of the report thereof.
Article 35.
If a Minister regards a decision of the President as contrary to law, he shall inform the Council of State which shall thereupon proceed as is set forth in Article 45. If the decision is contrary to a fundamental law the minister must refuse his counter signature.
Article 36.
The members of the Council of State, who must enjoy the confidence of the Chamber of Representatives, shall be chosen by the President from among the citizens of Finland who are native born and who are known for their honesty and their competence.
The minister under whose jurisdiction affairs relating to the administration of justice are placed, and at least one other minister must be profoundly learned in the law.
Article 37.
The Council of State must have a Chancellor of Justice who must be profoundly learned in the law. The Chancellor of Justice shall be assisted by a Deputy Chancellor of Justice, who in case of need shall take the place of the Chancellor.
Article 38.
The Council of State (Council of Ministers) shall consist of as many ministers as are necessary for the different branches of administration. Each department shall be directed by a minister.
The number of ministers and the general extent of their jurisdiction shall be fixed by law, but the detailed rules governing the apportionment of business among the ministers and the organization of the Council in all other respects shall be decreed by ordinance.
Article 39.
The Prime Minister shall be President of the Council; in case of impeachment he shall be succeeded by the incumbent minister who is first in point of precedence. When the President of the Republic is present he shall preside over the Council.
Article 40.
The business of the Council of State shall be considered in full session, except in cases in which the decision of certain questions has been, by ordinance, committed to one of the ministers in his capacity as head of a department.
A quorum of the Council shall consist of five members.
Article 41.
The Council shall have power to execute the decisions of the President and to decide matters which it must decide under the terms of the law, as well as other questions of government and administration which have not been reserved to the President in the present constitution or in any other law or ordinance, and which have not been committed to a minister in his capacity as head of a department or to an inferior authority.
Special regulations shall indicate the extent to which matters relating to the administration of justice, the University of Helsingfors, and the military organization are withdrawn from the competence of the Council.
Article 42.
If the Council of State is in doubt as to its competence definitively to decide any matter, the President of the Republic shall settle this question of competence.
Article 43.
The members of the Council of State shall be responsible to the Chamber of Representatives for their administrative acts.
Every member of the Council who has participated in the settlement of any matter by the Council shall be responsible for the decision reached, unless he shall have expressed a different opinion recorded in the minutes.
Article 44.
The questions considered by the Council of State must have been prepared by the department having jurisdiction.
Each minister shall supervise the administration within his sphere of powers and shall take measures to enforce the laws, ordinances, and decisions of the Council.
Article 45.
If it happens that a decision of the President which is presented to the Council for execution is found to be contrary to the law, the Council, after taking the advice of the Chancellor of Justice, must address to the President a request that he withdraw or modify his decision, and, if the President nevertheless maintains his ground, the Council must declare that the decision can not be enforced.
Article 46.
The Chancellor of Justice must see that the authorities and functionaries comply with the law and perform their duties to the end that no person shall suffer injury to his rights.
It shall be the duty of the Chancellor of Justice to represent the public authorities in the Supreme Court and in the Supreme Administrative Court, and to look after the interests of the state in these courts, as well as to assist or cause to be assisted prosecutions in other tribunals when he shall deem it necessary. In his capacity as supreme public prosecutor, the Chancellor of Justice must also exercise supervision over those who hold public office, and they must obey his decisions.
The Chancellor of Justice shall have a seat in the sessions of the Council of State, as well as in the sessions of all administrative tribunals and departments, and shall receive reports in writing from the ministers, tribunals, and other authorities.
Article 47.
If the Council of State or one of its members acts contrary to the law in the exercise of his functions, it is incumbent upon the Chancellor of Justice to make a declaration upon the subject, and at the same time to indicate in what respect the act is illegal. If the member is not restrained by this declaration, the Chancellor of Justice shall cause his opinion to be inscribed upon the minutes of the Council and shall also have the right to advise the President in respect to it. If the illegality is of a nature to involve a prosecution against the member in interest before the High Court mentioned in Article 59, and if the President directs the arraignment, the latter shall be supported by the Chancellor of Justice. If the President finds that there is no ground for the arraignment, the Chancellor of Justice shall be free to pursue the case before the Chamber of Representatives. If the President decides upon an arraignment of the Chancellor of Justice, the indictment shall be prosecuted by the person designated by the President for that purpose.
If the President in the exercise of his functions is about to commit illegal acts, the Chancellor of Justice must make a declaration upon the subject as provided above. If the Chancellor of Justice or the Council of State finds that the President is guilty of high treason or of treason, the Chancellor or the Council shall report this fact to the Chamber of Representatives. And in case the Chamber, by a three-fourths majority vote, decides to arraign the President, the Chancellor must prosecute him before the Supreme Court, and in the meantime the President shall abstain from the exercise of his functions. Except in the cases above provided the President shall not be arraigned for his administrative acts.
Article 48.
The Chancellor of Justice must make each year to the President as well as to the Chamber of Representatives a report upon the measures that he has taken and upon his accomplishments in respect to the enforcement of the laws.
The Chancellor of Justice upon request must give the Chamber of Representatives and the Council of State information and advice.
Article 49.
At each regular session the Chamber of Representatives shall elect in accordance with the procedure provided for the election of its own President, a person distinguished in the law who shall be the Solicitor of the Chamber. The Solicitor, in conformity with the instructions given him by the Chamber, shall supervise the enforcement of the laws in the proceedings of courts and other authorities. There shall be elected also, in accordance with the same procedure, a Deputy Solicitor who shall act for the Solicitor in case of the latter's disability.
The Solicitor shall have the same right as the Chancellor of Justice to be present at the sessions of the Council of State and the sessions of administrative tribunals and departments, the right to receive written reports from the Council of State, ministers, tribunals, and other authorities, and, under the responsibility imposed by law upon public authorities, the right to prosecute or cause to be prosecuted complaints for malfeasance or nonfeasance in office.
The Solicitor must make annually to the Chamber of Representatives a report of the manner in which he has performed his functions, of the state of the administration of the law, and of the defects which he has noticed in legislation.
Article 50.
From the point of view of general administration, Finland shall remain divided into departments, judicial districts, and parishes.
Every modification in respect to the number of provinces shall be made by law; the Council of State shall decide all other changes in reference to administrative divisions not otherwise provided by law.
In case of new delimitations of districts the new districts, wherever the circumstances permit, must be so formed as to include populations speaking only one language, Finnish or Swedish, or so that the minority speaking the other language shall be as small as possible.
Article 51.
The provinces shall be administered by governors. The administration of the communes shall be established upon the principle of local autonomy in accordance with the regulations prescribed by special laws. The manner and extent of local autonomy to be applied in districts wider than communes shall be regulated by law; the regulations contained in Article 50, Paragraph 3, shall be followed in fixing the boundaries of these districts.
Article 52.
Administrative services now existing or hereafter created for different branches of the administration of the state shall be governed by special regulations.

TITLE V. THE JUDICIARY

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Article 53.
The Supreme Court is the court of final resort in suits at law; moreover it shall supervise judges and executive authorities in their administration of justice.
Article 54.
The Supreme Court shall be composed of a Chief Justice and of the necessary number of associate justices.
Matters pertaining to the judicial administration which, by reason of special regulations, fall within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court shall be prepared by the department to which questions concerning the administration of justice are assigned. The head of the department shall participate in deliberations of the Supreme Court upon such matters.
In the Supreme Court questions may be examined and decided by five members, provided however that for the examination and decision of certain questions a larger or smaller number of members may be provided by special law.
Article 55.
Tribunals of first instance and of appeal shall be established by law.
Article 56.
The court of last resort in suits involving administrative law shall, except as otherwise specially provided, be the Supreme Administrative Court, which shall also supervise inferior authorities in their administration of justice in the field of administrative law.
Article 57.
The Supreme Administrative Court shall be composed of the President and of the necessary number of associate administrative justices. The provisions of Article 54, Paragraph 3, shall apply also to this court.
Article 58.
The Supreme Court and the Supreme Administrative Court shall have the right, when they think that a modification or interpretation of a law or ordinance is necessary, to address to the President a note requesting that such legislation be enacted.
Article 59.
In case of the arraignment of a minister, of a member of the Supreme Court or of the Supreme Administrative Court, or of the Chancellor of Justice, for an illegal act committed in the exercise of their functions, the case shall be tried by a special court called the High Court which shall be established by special regulations having the character of a fundamental law.
If the Chamber of Representatives makes the arraignment, it shall be prosecuted by the Solicitor of the Chamber.
Article 60.
Special tribunals other than that mentioned in Article 59 shall be provided for by law.
No extraordinary tribunal shall be established.

TITLE VI. PUBLIC FINANCE

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Article 61.
Imposts including customs duties shall be prescribed by law for a limited or indeterminate period. In the same way the abolition or modification of a previously established impost and of compulsory public services shall be regulated by law.
An impost established for a limited period shall not be collected beyond such period except in the case provided in Article 69, Paragraph 1.
Article 62.
The general principles in respect to fees for acts of public authorities, and for documents, as well as in respect to taxes to pay for the use of the post, the railroads, the canals, the hospitals, the schools, and other public establishments belonging to the state, shall be regulated by law.
Article 63.
Revenue producing properties and enterprises belonging to the state shall be exploited and utilized according to general principles established by law.
Article 64.
The consent of the Chamber of Representatives shall be necessary for the issue of a loan.
Article 65.
The principles governing new budgets for administrative services and public institutions, as well as the modification and abrogation of principles previously established, shall be regulated by law, as shall also the matter of pension rights. New employments and services shall be created only within limits of the annual budget.
New extraordinary pensions or subventions shall be granted only upon credits voted for this purpose by the Chamber of Representatives.
Article 66.
The annual budget proposal, in which must be included the receipts and expenses for the budgetary year, shall be adopted by the Chamber of Representatives and promulgated in the same manner as is required for the promulgation of laws. Special regulations shall determine whether a fund which does not aim to meet the annual expenses of the state shall be excluded from the budget proposal.
Article 67.
In the budget proposal of any fixed year, no impost or other revenue may be passed over, which, according to the laws or ordinances in force for the year in question, must be collected.
Article 68.
Interests and annuities for the amortization of debts and other funds designated for some state obligation, as well as expenses which must be paid in accordance with regulations in effect during the budgetary year, must be carried, without deductions, as part of the budget proposal. This proposal must also include amounts covering expenses based upon laws or ordinances but not carried in the budget proposal as special items, as well as necessary credits placed at the disposal of the Government for unexpected needs.
Other expenses included within the budget proposal shall be subject to examination and decision by the Chamber of Representatives for a single budgetary year at a time.
Credits voted by the Chamber of Representatives upon parliamentary initiative shall be conditionally inserted in the budget proposal.
The budget proposal must show resources sufficient to cover expenses.
Article 69.
If the budget is not adopted by the Chamber of Representatives before the beginning of the year, although the proposal has been submitted by the Government at least two months prior to the expiration of the Parliamentary session, the expenditures mentioned in Article 68, Paragraph 1, shall be paid, and the revenues necessary for this purpose shall continue to be collected provisionally.
If modifications in the approved budget proposal appear to be absolutely necessary, a supplementary budget proposal shall be presented to the Chamber of Representatives.
Article 70.
The credits carried in the budget proposal shall not be exceeded, nor shall they be carried over from one financial year to another, unless provisions for this are made in the budget proposal, nor shall a credit be transferred from one part of the budget proposal approved by the Chamber of Representatives to another part of the budget.
Independently of the budget every person shall have the right to demand from the state treasury what is legally due him.
Article 71.
For the examination of treasury accounts there shall be a bureau of audit of accounts, which must satisfy itself that the figures carried in the accounts are correct, that the receipts and expenditures are legally entered, and that the budget proposal is complied with.
At every regular session of the Chamber of Representatives provision shall be made for five auditors of state finances who shall be charged on behalf of the Chamber with seeing that the budget proposal is complied with and with examining the condition and administration of the treasury. These auditors shall be under instructions prescribed by the Chamber and shall have power to receive from the competent authorities information and documents. They shall be elected by the members of the Chamber according to the method of proportional representation. In the same manner there shall be elected also the necessary number of alternates.
Article 72.
The currency of Finland shall be regulated by law.
Article 73.
The Bank of Finland shall be placed under the guarantee and protection of the Chamber of Representatives and under the supervision of directors elected by the Chamber of Representatives.
The Bank of Finland shall be administered in accordance with procedure prescribed by law.
The Chamber shall determine how the profits of the Bank shall be used for the needs of the state.
Article 74.
Landed property, funds, imposts, or revenue-producing rights of the state shall not be alienated or hypothecated except as authorized by law.
The occupier of a crown domain shall nevertheless have the right to purchase such domain for inheritance in accordance with special regulations upon this subject.

TITLE VII. NATIONAL DEFENSE

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Article 75.
Every Finnish citizen is required to participate in the defense of the country or to make his contribution to the defense in accordance with the requirements of law.
Every conscript, unless he otherwise desires, shall if possible be incorporated into a troop the members of which speak his own mother tongue (Finnish or Swedish), and shall receive his instruction in that language. Finnish shall be the language of command of the armed forces.
Article 76.
If it becomes necessary to put troops upon a war footing the President shall present an ordinance for this purpose at a session of the Council of State. When this order has been given, the Council shall take under consideration the necessary measures to cover the expenditures which result, and the Chamber of Representatives shall be convoked in case it is not in session.

TITLE VIII. EDUCATION

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Article 77.
The University of Helsingfors shall retain its right of autonomy.
New regulations in respect to the principles of organization of the University shall be promulgated by law; but details in respect to the University shall be regulated by ordinance. In both cases the Consistory of the University must be previously consulted.
Article 78.
The state shall promote the study of, and higher instruction in, the technical, agricultural, and commercial sciences and other applied sciences, as well as the practice of, and higher instruction in, the fine arts, by supporting and creating for all of these branches special schools of higher learning in so far as these are not represented at the University, or by giving grants in aid to private institutions created for this purpose.
Article 79.
Institutions giving scientific instruction or general intermediate instruction or higher primary instruction shall be supported at the expense of the state or, if need be, by grantsin-aid. The principles of organization of the secondary schools of the state shall be established by law.
Article 80.
The principles of organization of primary instruction and in respect to the obligations of the state and municipalities to support primary schools, as well as on the subject of compulsory education, shall be determined by law.
Instruction in the primary schools shall be free to all.
Article 81.
The state shall support, or in case of need shall give grants-in-aid to, institutions for instruction in the technical professions, in agriculture and its allied pursuits, in commerce and navigation, and in the fine arts.
Article 82.
The right to establish private schools or other private institutions of instruction and to organize instruction therein shall be regulated by law.
Instruction given at home shall be subject to no supervision by the authorities.

TITLE IX. RELIGIOUS ASSOCIATIONS

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Article 83.
The organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and its administration shall be regulated by ecclesiastical law.
Other existing religious associations shall be governed by rules which are or shall be prescribed in respect to them.
New religious associations shall be established in accordance with the requirements of law.

TITLE X. PUBLIC OFFICES

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Article 84.
Except as otherwise provided in this Article only Finnish citizens shall be appointed to public office.
Employments of a technical nature, teaching positions in the University or other schools of higher learning, positions of professor of modern languages in the schools, and of translators in the administrative services, as well as non-remunerative consular posts and the posts of clerical assistants and other special positions in legations and consulates, may be held by other than Finnish citizens.
Article 85.
Examinations for appointment to public office shall be regulated by ordinance except where such matters are regulated by law. Exemption from the prescribed merit requirements may for special reasons be granted by the Council of State; this concession, however, shall not apply to employments in the judicial service.
Article 86.
The general principles upon which appointment to public offices of the state may be made shall be merit, capacity, and proved civic virtue.
Article 87.
The President of the Republic shall appoint:
(1) The Chancellor of Justice and his Deputy;
(2) The Archbishop and Bishops and the Chancellor of the University;
(3) The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the President of the Supreme Administrative Court, and upon nomination by the Supreme Court, the members of that court and the presidents of the courts of appeal as well as, upon nomination by the Supreme Administrative Court, the members of that court;
(4) The members of the courts of appeal and the professors in the University and in the Technical High School;
(5) The heads of the central administrative offices and the governors, upon nomination by the Council of State, and also members of the central administrative offices;
(6) The officers in the President's Chancery and, upon nomination by the proper authority, the reporters to the Council of State, to the Supreme Court, and to the Supreme Administrative Court, and finally;
(7) Ministers plenipotentiary and consuls, upon nomination by the Council of State.
Article 88.
Judges of rural tribunals of first instance, burgomasters, and presidents of land-partition courts shall be appointed by the Supreme Court.
In compliance with special regulations appointment to certain employments shall be made as follows:
(1) to tribunals, by the Supreme Court or the superior court in whose jurisdiction the employment falls, and to the Supreme Administrative court, by that court; and
(2) in administrative offices and schools, by the Council of State, the minister, the provincial government, or the head of the office to which the employment belongs.
Appointment to other offices shall be made by the Council of State, unless the right of appointment has been reserved to the President or committed to some other authority.
Article 89.
In filling vacancies in the central administrative offices and the employments mentioned in Article 87, Paragraph 4, and in Article 88, and subject to the reservation of different regulations prescribed in Article 90, the position shall first be declared open for the declaration of candidacies. A proposal shall thereupon be prepared, to serve as a basis for the appointment, in which the official who has received the applications of candidates shall place the three candidates best qualified in accordance with the principles established. When it is a matter of filling a vacancy in the membership of a court of appeal, the opinion of the Supreme Court shall be requested on the subject of this proposal.
If the appointment is made by the same authority to whom the applications are addressed, no nomination is made. In accordance with special regulations certain other administrative employments may also be provided for in a manner other than that indicated in Paragraph 1.
Article 90.
The procedure of making appointments to office in the University, in the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Greek Orthodox Church, to the office of burgomaster and of aldermen in cities, and to offices and employments in the Bank of Finland shall be governed by special regulations.
Officers of the army and of the navy shall be appointed by the President. Regulations governing promotion and military instruction shall be established by special acts.
Article 91.
No judge shall be deprived of his office except by a lawful trial and judgment. The transfer of a judge shall take place only upon the reorganization of the judicial establishment or at his own request.
The right of other officers to retain their offices shall be regulated by a special law.
The law may impose, even for irremovable officers, an obligation to retire at a fixed age or because of infirmity involving incapacity for work.
Special regulations shall define the rights and duties of officers whose offices are abolished.
Article 92.
In the exercise of public functions the law must be strictly followed upon penalty of the officer's being held accountable.
If an ordinance regulation is contrary to a fundamental or other law, it shall not be enforced by a judge or other officer.
Article 93.
Every officer is responsible for the measures that he takes or to which he contributes in his capacity as a member of a collegiate administrative office. A reporter is likewise responsible for a decision taken upon his report unless he has recorded his dissenting opinion in the proceedings.
Whoever suffers a violation of his right or injury as a result of an illegal measure or of the negligence of an officer has the right to demand that this officer be condemned to pay a penalty and damages or to lay an information against him demanding his arraignment in accordance with the formalities prescribed by law.
The responsibility of the state for damages caused by an officer shall be governed by special regulations.

TITLE XI. FINAL PROVISIONS

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Article 94.
The election of the first President of the Republic shall be made by the Chamber of Representatives and shall take place immediately after the present constitution goes into effect. The election shall be by secret ballot. If a candidate obtains more than half of the votes cast he shall be proclaimed elected. If this does not result, a new ballot shall immediately be taken, and if no person obtains this time an absolute majority, another ballot shall be taken between the two candidates who on the second count obtain the largest number of votes. In case of a tie vote it shall be decided by lot.
Article 95.
The present constitution shall be in all of its parts an irrevocable fundamental law. It may be modified, explained, or repealed, and may be departed from only in accordance with procedure provided for the alteration of fundamental laws in general.
The following laws are repealed by the present law: The Form of Government of August 21, 1772, and the Act of Union and of Security of February 21 and April 3, 1789, as well as of provisions that appear in other laws and regulations which are in conflict with the present constitution.
The provisions necessary to put the present constitution into effect shall be promulgated by law.

Notice of this constitution is hereby given to whom it may concern to be followed and obeyed.

Helsingfors, July 17, 1919.
Regent: MANNERHEIM
Minister of Justice: SÖDERHOLM

EXCERPTS FROM THE ORGANIC LAW OF THE LANDTAG

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July 20, 1906

CHAPTER I. GENERAL PRINCIPLES

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Article 1.
The Landtag of the Grand Duchy (Republic) of Finland shall represent the people of Finland.
Article 2.
The Landtag shall consist of a single chamber of two hundred members.
Article 3.
The election of members of the Landtag shall take place every three years, at the same time throughout the country. The mandate of the members of the Landtag shall begin as soon as they have been declared elected and shall continue until the next election shall have been held. The Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic) shall always have the right, if he deems it necessary, to order new elections prior to the expiration of the triennial period mentioned in the first sentence of this Article. In such case, a dissolution of the Landtag shall take place and the mandate of the newly elected members shall continue for three years.
Article 4.
The members of the Landtag shall be elected by a direct vote of the people and according to the principles of proportional representation. The country shall be divided for these elections into not less than twelve nor more than eighteen electoral districts. When local circumstances necessitate a derogation from the principle of proportional representation, there may be established in addition to the number mentioned above one or two districts for the election of single members of the Landtag. All the electors shall have equal voting rights. The right to vote shall not be exercised by proxy. Special regulations in respect to electoral districts, and the time at which and the manner in which elections shall be held, shall be established by a separate electoral law.
Article 5.
The right to participate in the election of members of the Landtag shall belong to every Finnish citizen, man or woman, who has attained the age of twenty-four years prior to the year of the election. The following persons shall not enjoy the right to vote:
(1) Those who are in the active military service;
(2) Those who are under guardianship;
(3) Those who for three previous years have not been registered in Finland;
(4) Those who for any cause other than lack of resources, certified by attestation of the communal administration, have failed to pay the taxes imposed upon them for the two previous years;
(5) Those who have personally received poor relief except where such relief was purely accidental;
(6) Those who have gone into bankruptcy for the satisfaction of creditors, until they shall have declared under oath that satisfaction has been made;
(7) Those who have been condemned to public work on account of vagrancy, until the expiration of the third year following their release;
(8) Those who by reason of a regular adjudication have been declared discredited or unworthy to be employed in the service of the state or to solicit such employment for others;
(9) Those who have been convicted of having bought or sold votes at a Landtag election or of having attempted to do so, or of having voted in place of another voter, or of having interfered with the freedom of the vote by violence or intimidation, until the expiration of the sixth year after that in which the final judgment has been rendered.
Article 6.
Every elector shall be eligible to a seat in the Landtag without respect to his place of domicile.
Article 7.
Every functionary who attempts to use his authority in order to influence an election to the Landtag shall lose his office. Whoever shall by promises or bribery interfere with freedom of voting shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than three years. In case of violence or intimidation the punishment shall be imprisonment for not less than a month nor more than a year. If the guilty person is a functionary he shall in addition lose his office. An employer who does not give to his employees, as far as possible, full opportunity to exercise the right of voting shall be punished by fine.
Article 8.
Those who, in conformity with the electoral law, have been declared elected as members of the Landtag shall not resign their mandate unless they can present a legitimate excuse or some other reason satisfactory to the Landtag.
Article 9.
The members of the Landtag shall be held to perform their duties in accordance with right and truth. They are in consequence compelled to observe the constitutional laws and are not bound by any other restriction.
Article 10.
Members of the Landtag may not refuse to attend the Landtag and to exercise their functions.
Article 11.
Members of the Landtag may not be indicted nor deprived of their liberty because of the opinions expressed by them, nor in general because of their conduct during debates, unless the Landtag shall authorize such action by a vote of at least five-sixths of the members present.
Article 12.
During the sessions of the Landtag no member shall without authorization of the Landtag be arrested for a misdemeanor, unless his arrest has been ordered by a judge, or unless he has been taken in an act punishable by at least six months' imprisonment. If a member of the Landtag is arrested on his way to the Landtag for an offense other than that set forth in the first sentence of this paragraph he shall be set at liberty, provided the Landtag shall so decide. Notice of the arrest of any member of the Landtag shall immediately be given to the President.
Article 13.
If in proceeding to or returning from the Landtag, or during its sessions, a member shall be insulted or assaulted, and if the offense shall have been committed with full knowledge of his membership in the Landtag, or if, after the session, the member is the victim of violence because of the manner in which he has exercised his powers, the fact that the misdemeanor has been committed against a member of the Landtag shall be considered as a peculiarly aggravating circumstance. The same shall apply in respect to the secretaries and employees of the Landtag.
Article 14.
The members of the Landtag shall receive a salary payable out of public funds and in addition their expenses in travelling to and from the Landtag. Their salary shall be fourteen hundred marks for every regular session, or if the Landtag is dissolved or if its business has been completed less than ninety days after the opening of the session, the salary shall be fifteen marks per day. During regular sessions which are held after a dissolution of the Landtag, and after new elections have taken place at a period other than the regular period, as well as during extraordinary sessions, the salary shall be determined as indicated in the second instance above, but the salary shall not exceed a total of four hundred marks.
Article 15.
If a member of the Landtag fails to present himself upon the day prescribed for the opening of the session, or if he fails to attend the meetings without permission of the Landtag, and if he can not present an excuse satisfactory to the Landtag, he may be condemned by the Landtag to a loss of fifteen marks of his salary for each day of his absence and in addition to a fine which must not exceed fifteen marks. If such a member fails to pay his fine, the Landtag may declare his mandate forfeited.

CHAPTER II. OPENING, DISSOLUTION, AND ADJOURNMENT OF THE LANDTAG

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Article 16.
The opening of the Landtag shall take place at the capital of Finland (Helsingfors), except when an invasion by the enemy or some other serious obstacle renders this impossible or dangerous to the security of the State, in which case another place of meeting shall be indicated by the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic).
Article 17.
The Landtag shall assemble every year in regular session upon a call specially issued for each occasion on the first day of the month of February, unless the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic) fixes another day of the year, and it shall adjourn under a standing order the ninetieth day following, unless the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic), pursuant to his own personal judgment or in conformity with a request of the Landtag, decides that the adjournment of the session shall be advanced or deferred. If one of the dates mentioned in the preceding sentence or in any other article in this law falls upon a holiday, the first day following the holiday shall be taken for the date fixed.
Article 18.
If the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic) calls a new election during the course of a regular session, the Landtag shall adjourn to a day fixed by the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic). In such case the Landtag shall reassemble again in regular session after the new elections on the first day of the month that commences immediately after the ninetieth day following the dissolution, or upon an earlier date fixed by the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic). If a new election is ordained after the adjournment of the regular session, and if the election can not be held before the first day of the month of February following, the reassembling of the Landtag in regular session shall be postponed to the first day of the month which follows the proclamation of the result of the vote.
Article 19.
The Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic) shall have power to convoke the Landtag in extraordinary session and to decide when it must adjourn. The Landtag may not be called in extraordinary session upon less than fifteen days' notice, and the session can not be prolonged beyond the last day, not a holiday, preceding the opening of the regular session. In an extraordinary session the Landtag may deal only with those matters for which it was convoked or which are submitted to it by the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic), as well as with such questions as are inseparably connected with those matters.
Article 20.
The orders of the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic) mentioned in Articles 16, 18, and 19 shall be published in the manner prescribed for the promulgation of the laws in Finland. The order calling for new elections shall moreover be transmitted to the governors and to authorities or councils charged with the conduct of the elections.
Article 21.
On the day on which the Landtag assembles the members of the Landtag shall present their credentials, beginning at eleven o'clock in the morning, in the order which shall be determined by a posted placard, to the person or persons designated by the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic) for the purpose of verifying these credentials. When credentials are presented for the first time, they shall be examined to see whether they have been drawn up by a competent authority and in the form prescribed. A list of the members duly seated shall be returned to the Landtag on the next day, before ten o'clock in the morning. Every member of the Landtag who arrives after the beginning of the session shall take his seat after having presented to the President of the Landtag his credentials, regularly verified as required in the first sentence of this Article.
Article 21.
When the credentials of a member of the Landtag have been refused, the Landtag shall have the right to inquire whether there is any justification for the seating of such a member. If in the course of the session a contest, founded upon this law, is raised in respect to the qualification of a member of the Landtag to take his seat, the examination of this contest shall always be undertaken by the Landtag, unless this same contest has already been or may still be submitted to the decision of the competent authority by way of an election appeal. The question of the validity of elections may not be otherwise debated in the Landtag, unless the contest turns upon a manifestly unlawful act which took place at the time of the election or of the electoral procedure, or upon an indisputable error in the proclamation of the result of the vote. In such case, when it is evident, not only that the offense or error may have exercised an influence upon the result of the vote, but also that it could not possibly be remedied by way of appeal, the Landtag may for this purpose take any measures that are compatible with the provisions of the electoral law. The member of the Landtag whose seat is under contest shall continue, nevertheless, to exercise his mandate until it shall have been declared invalid.
Article 23.
On the day following, the Landtag shall assemble at ten o'clock in the morning in full session, which shall be opened by calling the roll upon the list mentioned in Article 21. In this full session the Landtag shall elect from among its own members a President (Talman) and two Vice-Presidents. Thereupon the President and the Vice-Presidents, one after the other, in the presence of the assembled Landtag, shall make the following affirmation: "I, N. N., promise that in the exercise of my duties as President, I will maintain with all my power the right of the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic), as well as of the Landtag and of the people of Finland, in conformity with the constitutional laws." Until these formalities shall have been observed, the oldest member of the Landtag shall act as President. The minutes shall be taken by such person as this oldest member shall choose for this purpose. The secretaries and the personnel of the secretariat shall be named in such manner as may be determined by the Landtag. Upon the day and at the hour fixed by the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic) the members of the Landtag, after divine service, shall assemble in the hall of the throne, where the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic) or his delegate shall welcome the Landtag and declare the session open, after which the Landtag, speaking through its President, shall express its respects.
Article 24.
At the close of the session the members of the Landtag shall assemble, after divine service, on the day and at the hour fixed by the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic) in the hall of the throne, where the President of the Landtag in the presence of the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic) or his delegate shall express the respects and good wishes of the Landtag and shall present the minutes of the Landtag; whereupon the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic) or his delegate shall declare the session closed.

CHAPTER III. CONCERNING THE INTRODUCTION OF BUSINESS IN THE LANDTAG

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CHAPTER IV. CONCERNING THE APPORTIONMENT OF BUSINESS

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CHAPTER V. DISCUSSION OF BUSINESS IN FULL SESSION AND IN THE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

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CHAPTER VI. MEASURES CONCERNING THE BANK OF FINLAND

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CHAPTER VII. CONCERNING THE COMMUNICATION OF THE DECISIONS AND DECLARATIONS OF THE LANDTAG

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Article 75.
When the Landtag shall enact a law, upon the proposal of the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic), directed toward the establishment, modification, interpretation or abrogation of a constitutional law, or upon a proposal or motion concerning one of those other laws which require the coördinate decision of the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic) and of the Landtag, the proposal shall be transmitted with a message by the Landtag for examination by the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic), in order to receive his sanction and be converted into law. If the project is not approved without amendment by the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic), and if in consequence it fails entirely, notice to this effect shall be given to the Landtag at the first session which follows the decision of the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic) in respect to the matter. All other decisions and declarations made by the Landtag in response to proposals and requests made by the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic), as well as all petitions to the Emperor and Grand Duke (the president of the Republic) voted by the Landtag shall likewise be transmitted to the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic) in the form of messages from the Landtag.
Article 76.
Messages emanating from the Landtag and the minutes of the Landtag shall be drawn up and dispatched by a special committee called the committee of dispatch. No dispatch shall be delivered as proceeding from the Landtag until it shall have been approved by the Landtag or by a committee of revision. Committees of dispatch and of revision shall be composed of nine members each and of the necessary number of alternates.
Article 77.
The minutes of the Landtag, as well as petitions emanating from it, shall be signed by all the members of the Landtag; other messages shall be signed only by the President and the Vice-President.

CHAPTER VIII. SPECIAL PROVISIONS

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Article 78.
Proposals from the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic), reports of committees, messages from the Landtag to the Emperor and Grand Duke (the President of the Republic), the journal and the minutes of the Landtag shall be printed and published.
Article 79.
The expenses of the Landtag shall be paid by the treasury department.

CHAPTER IX. FINAL PROVISION

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This organic law of the Landtag, which repeals the organic law of the Landtag of Finland of April 15, 1869, the manifestos of March 2, 1879, June 25, 1886, and December 14, 1897, shall be as to all of its provisions an inviolable constitutional law until it shall have been amended or repealed by concurrent decision of the sovereign (the President of the Republic) and of the Landtag of Finland.
All of the provisions of law that are in force in respect to the States of Finland shall apply to the Landtag created by this constitutional law, except such provisions as are contrary to this organic law.

 This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.

Original:

This work is in the public domain in the U.S. because it is an edict of a government, local or foreign. See § 313.6(C)(2) of the Compendium II: Copyright Office Practices. Such documents include "legislative enactments, judicial decisions, administrative rulings, public ordinances, or similar types of official legal materials" as well as "any translation prepared by a government employee acting within the course of his or her official duties."

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Translation:

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1929.


The longest-living author of this work died in 1970, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 53 years or less. This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

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