Aland Government and Politics
State and politics
The province of Åland has had a far-reaching autonomy in Finland since 1921. The foundations for the state’s state of the state can be found in the Self-Government Act for Åland. The current law now entered into force on 1 January 1993. It can only be changed by the Finnish Parliament in a constitutional order and with the consent of the Åland Legislature.
The Åland Parliament, the Lagting, consists of 30 members elected over four years. The voting age is 18 years. A prerequisite for voting rights and eligibility is an Ålandic citizenship, the Ålandic resident’s right, which is obtained at birth if one of the parents already has a resident’s right or if you are a Finnish citizen and have lived in Åland for at least five years and speak Swedish. In the Lagting, which is elected with a large element of personal elections, after the 2003 elections, seven parties are represented: Åland Center (7 seats), Liberals in Åland (7 seats), Åland’s Social Democrats (6 seats), Liberal cooperation (4 seats), Unbound collection (3 mandates), the future of Åland (2 mandates) and the Åland progress group (1 mandate).
The legislature has legislative rights in education and culture, health care, business, internal communications, municipal administration, postal services, radio and TV and police. In other areas, most notably foreign affairs, civil law, courts and customs and coinage, the same laws apply as in Finland. For the Parliament of Finland, Åland elects a representative. The Lagting decides on the landscape budget. Taxes and fees are collected by the Finnish State, and Åland’s expenses are covered by a total allocation in the state budget made available to the Lagting. This then decides freely on the distribution of the sum. Laws passed by the Lagting are sent to the President of Finland, who can veto two special cases: if the Lagting has exceeded his powers or if the law concerns Finland’s external or internal security.
The legislature appoints the Government of Åland, the Landscape Board, which can have between five and eight members and whose chairman is the county council.
The basic principle of Åland policy is to assert the right of self-government in all respects. To this will also be the will to guard the Åland demilitarization and the Swedish position as the only official language. Although the self-government does not include foreign policy issues, Åland has since 1970 its own delegation to the Nordic Council. In other ways, Åland has a certain influence on foreign policy. If Finland concludes an international agreement affecting Åland, Lagting’s approval is required for the agreement to also apply to Åland. This came into use at Finland’s entry into the EU, where Åland itself decided on its entry into the EU and thereby received explicit exceptions, eg. regarding the right to own real estate in Åland and the right to conduct business as well as the right to own indirect taxation (the so-called Åland Protocol). The exceptions became possible thanks to the status of Åland based on international decisions; see the History section below as wellThe Åland issue and the Åland Convention.
Åland is divided into 16 municipalities, which coincides with the historical parishes; However, Mariehamn was only added in 1861. Here, the parish abolished in the other Nordic countries still lives, which contributes to a decentralization and neighborly democracy characteristic of Åland. The municipalities are therefore small with typically about 500 residents; the largest (apart from Mariehamn) is Jomala with 3,100 residents and the smallest Sottunga with 130 residents. The municipal council is elected for four years, and the municipal elections take place at the same time as the general election. For voting rights and eligibility, this is also required here in Åland, including other Nordic citizenship and three years of residence in Åland.