Parliamentary Chamber: Eduskunta - Riksdagen


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  Eduskunta - Riksdagen

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  17 March 1991

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in Parliament on the normal expiry of the members’ term of office.

Background and outcome of elections:

  It will be recalled that, following the previous general elections of March 1987, a four-party coalition Government led by the Social Democrats (SDP) and Conservatives (KOK - National Coalition Party) was formed in February 1988, President of the Republic Mauno Koivisto (SDP) was re-elected for six years.

Of the 17 parties competing for the 200 seats, the Centre Party (KESK) headed by Mr. Esko Aho was once again the coalition’s main challenger. Debate during the generally lackluster campaign focused mainly on the deepening economic recession (rising unemployment, lower external trade, inflation) facing the country after years of growth. Finland’s role in the context of European economic integration was a background issue.

On a polling day marked by a relatively low turnout (68%), the electorate’s concern with the economic situation was reflected in the final results, as the opposition KESK gained 15 additional seats and thus became the largest single party in Parliament. Altogether, the outgoing governing partners won 100 seats - a drop of 22. Approximately two-thirds of the members were newcomers to the Eduskunta, and the total of women increased from 63 to 77 - the highest percentage (38.5) among national Parliaments.

Given this overall complex outcome, formation of a new Government took several weeks. On 26 April, a new Cabinet was finally appointed; headed by Prime Minister Erkki Aho of KESK, it also included KOK, the Swedish People’s Party and the Finnish Christian Union.

Round no 1 (17 March 1991): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 4,060,778
Voters 2,772,153 (68.26%)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 49,134
Valid votes 2,723,019

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
Centre Party (KESK) 675,934 24.8
Social Democratic Party (SDP) 602,401 22.1
National Coalition Party (KOK) 526,040 19.3
Left-Wing Alliance (VL) 274,187 10.1
Green Alliance 185,773 6.8
Swedish People’s Party (SFP) 159,435 5.5
Finnish Rural Party (SMP) 131,868 4.8
Finnish Christian Union (SKL) 83,152 3.1
Liberal People’s Party (LKP) 21,140 0.8

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Gain/Loss
Centre Party (KESK) 55 +15
Social Democratic Party (SDP) 48 -8
National Coalition Party (KOK) 40 -13
Left-Wing Alliance (VL) 19 -1*
Green Alliance 10 +6
Swedish People’s Party (SFP) 12 -1
Finnish Rural Party (SMP) 7 -2
Finnish Christian Union (SKL) 8 +3
Liberal People’s Party (LKP) 1 +1

  * 1987 figures (20 seats) represent combined total for Finnish People’s Democratic League (SKDL) and Democratic Alternative (DEVA).

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 123
Women: 77

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Copyright 1991 Inter-Parliamentary Union