On 23 June 2021, Parliament approved the Government proposal for health and social services reform referred to in the Government Programme of Prime Minister Marin’s Government (10 December 2019). In the reform, 21 wellbeing services counties were established and the responsibility for organising health, social and rescue services will be transferred from municipalities to them. The legislation concerning the wellbeing services counties, including the Act on Wellbeing Services Counties (611/2021), entered into force on 1 July 2021.
The highest decision-making power in each wellbeing services county will be exercised by a county council, the members and deputy members of which will be elected in county elections. The elections are direct, secret and proportional, and the right to vote is equal. The term of the county councils is four years. From 2025 onwards, county elections will be held in conjunction with municipal elections. However, the first county elections will be conducted as separate elections on Sunday 23 January 2022. The City of Helsinki is not a wellbeing services county nor does it belong to any of the wellbeing services counties, which is why no county elections will be conducted in Helsinki. Another exception is Åland, which is not affected by the health and social services reform.
Each county council will decide how many members it will have, but the minimum numbers are determined in the Act on Wellbeing Services Counties. Under the Act, a minimum of 59 county councillors must be elected in the smallest counties, while the minimum number of councillors in the largest counties is 89. However, in the first county elections, the number of county councillors to be elected in each county will be the minimum number determined in the Act.
|Population of a wellbeing services county||Minimum number of county councillors|
|200,000 or less||59|
|200 001 - 400 000||69|
|400 001 - 600 000||79|
According to the data contained in the Population Information System on 31 August 2021, the number of county councillors to be elected in each wellbeing services county in the 2022 county elections is as follows:
- 59 county councillors (11 wellbeing services counties): The wellbeing services counties of Central Ostrobothnia, Kainuu, East Uusimaa, South Karelia, South Savo, Kymenlaakso, North Karelia, Kanta-Häme, Ostrobothnia, Lapland, and South Ostrobothnia.
- 69 county councillors (six wellbeing services counties): The wellbeing services counties of Central Uusimaa, Päijät-Häme, Satakunta, North Savo, Central Finland, and Vantaa and Kerava.
- 79 county councillors (four wellbeing services counties): The wellbeing services counties of North Ostrobothnia, West Uusimaa, Southwest Finland, and Pirkanmaa.