Establishment of a Party

Only a registered association whose main object is to influence state matters may be entered into the party register. More information about the establishment and registration of an associacion can be found on the website of the National Board of Patents and Registration of Finland.

The rules and regulations of the association shall guarantee that democratic principles are abided by in decision-making and in the activities. Another prerequisite for the registration of a party is that the association has drafted a party programme which takes up the goals and principles followed in the national activities, whose final objective is mentioned in the rules and regulations. In addition, signed support cards of at least 5000 citizens entitled to vote in parliamentary elections are required.

Only the central organisation of a party is registered. District, local and municipal branches as well as local associations are usually registered associations, but they are not entered into the party register.

If the rules and regulations of a party entered into the party register are amended, the Ministry of Justice has to be notified of the amendment, which enters into force only after it has been recorded in the party register.

Only a party entered into the party register may use the abbreviation r.p. (rekisteröity puolue, registered party) with its name, and it may no longer use the abbreviation r.y. which signifies a registered association (rekisteröity yhdistys ).

If a party fails to gain a parliamentary seat in two consecutive parliamentary elections, or if it ceases to be a registered association, it is deleted from the party register. A party may also apply for deletion.

What is required to form a party?

The association can apply for registration of the party to the Ministry of Justice in two alternative ways:

1. Traditional application on paper

The party's application for registration, which is free-form, must be accompanied by 

  • extract from the register of associations;
  • the rules in force and entered in the register of associations; and
  • the broad strategy.

After the Ministry of Justice has approved the application for the above documents, the association can start collecting paper supporter cards. The association must submit to the Ministry of Justice within one year of the date of approval.

  • At least 5,000 supporter cards in accordance with the formula approved by the Ministry of Justice, in which persons entitled to vote in parliamentary, municipal or European elections, declare their support for the association's entry in the register of political parties.

The Ministry of Justice forwards the supporter cards to the Digital and Population Information Office, which, after checking the cards, notifies the ministry whether the required number of cards is available. The Ministry of Justice then makes the final registration decision and enters the association as a party in the register of political parties.

2. Electronic application in the puoluerekisteri.fi –service

The register of political parties application can be made and supporter declarations collected electronically in the puoluerekisteri.fi  -service (link opens on 1 January 2021) using strong electronic identification. The representative of the association logs in to the service and enters the following documents:

  • extract from the register of associations;
  • the rules in force entered in the register of associations; and
  • the broad strategy.

After the Ministry of Justice has approved the application for the above-mentioned documents, the association may start collecting electronic statements of support from the service. The association must collect within one year of the date of approval.

  • At least 5,000 statements of support, in which persons entitled to vote in parliamentary, municipal or European elections declare strong electronic identification using their support for entering the association in the register of political parties.

Each statement of support must contain the following information:

  • the full name, date of birth and municipality of residence of the supporter, and
  • a declaration by the supporter that he or she is entitled to vote in parliamentary, municipal or European elections.

The Ministry of Justice submits statements of support to the Digital and Population Information Office, which, after checking them, notifies the Ministry whether the number of statements is necessary. The Ministry of Justice then makes the final registration decision and enters the association as a party in the register of political parties.

Puoluerekisteri.fi -service (link opens on 1.1.2021)

The association may also choose to collect some of the 5,000 statements of support on paper using support cards.

Entering a party in the Register of political parties

Only the party's central organization is entered in the register of political parties. Party district organizations, regional and municipal organizations, and local associations are usually also registered associations. However, they are not entered in the register of political parties.

If changes are made to the rules or program of a party entered in the register of political parties, they must be notified to both the association register and the Ministry of Justice. An amendment to the rules does not enter into force until the amendment has been entered in the register of political parties.

Only a party entered in the register of political parties has the right to use the abbreviation r.p. (registered party) as opposed to the abbreviation ry (registered association).

If a party has not won the seat of Member of Parliament in two consecutive parliamentary elections, nor at least 2% of the votes cast in the whole country, or if it has ceased to be a registered association, it shall be removed from the register of political parties. A party can also be removed from the register on the basis of its own application.

As of February 1, 1969, a total of 46 different parties have been entered in the register of political parties.