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Finland - Procedure of Parliament Index Page Document Table of Contents

    { Adopted on: 19 Dec 1971 }
    { ICL Document Status: 19 Dec 1971 }

    { Editor's Note
    The raw text is a translation by Martin Scheinin provided to ICL in 1996.  The ICL edition features additional Article Titles for better overview in the table of contents. }

 

Part I  Organization of a Session

 

Section 1  [Arrangement]

When Parliament assembles for the first time after an election, the representatives shall take their seats in the assembly hall in alphabetical order.  This arrangement shall be observed until Parliament otherwise decides.
 

Section 2  [Seniority Principle]

When Parliament has assembled in plenary sitting on the first day of a regular session, the member of Parliament most senior in years shall take the seat of Speaker and have the roll called.  After the roll call the elections of the Speaker and Deputy Speakers shall be held.  The President of the Republic shall be notified of the election results with a communication of Parliament.
 

Section 3  [Roll Call]

In the first plenary sitting of the first session of an electoral period the roll shall be called according to the list referred to in Section 23 (2) of the Parliament Act.  In the first plenary sittings of later sessions of the same electoral period the roll shall be called on the basis of the said list as it was at the end of the preceding session.  After the roll call the speaker of Parliament by right of seniority or the Speaker shall note the names of the members who have failed to attend the session.  If, after the beginning of the first session of an electoral period, a representative has presented his duly inspected credentials to the speaker of Parliament by right of seniority or to the Speaker, or if the representative has during a later session of the same electoral period announced himself to the speaker of Parliament by right of seniority or to the Speaker, then the speaker of Parliament by right of seniority or the Speaker shall notify Parliament of the same.  In these cases the representative shall not take office before he has presented his credentials or announced himself to the speaker of Parliament by right of seniority or the Speaker.
 

Part II  Speaker Corps, Office Commission, Office of Parliament

 

Section 4  [Speaker Corps]

The Speaker and the Deputy Speakers shall form the Speaker Corps.
 

Section 5  [Office Commission]

In the first plenary sitting of the first session of an electoral period Parliament shall elect to the office commission the four members referred to in Section 89 of the Parliament Act.  If Parliament is unable to agree on those elected, the election shall be postponed and conducted by proportional ballot.
 

Section 6  [Chairman of the Office Commission]

The Speaker shall serve as Chairman of the office commission.  When the Speaker is prevented from so serving, the first orsecond Deputy Speaker shall take his place.  Five members of the office commission shall constitute a quorum.  If the votes are divided equally then the vote which was cast by the Chairman shall decide the matter.  However, the office commission may decide a matter with only four members present, if the decision is unanimous.  The Secretary-General and the administrative director of Parliament, as well as those officials in the office of Parliament appointed for the purpose by the office commission, shall serve as presenting officials in the office commission.
 

Section 7  [Duties of the Office Commission]

In addition to the duties separately provided for it, the office commission shall:
l ) manage, supervise and develop the administration and finances of Parliament and consider any plans and suggestions for development pertaining thereto;
2) decide the proposals on the administration and finances of Parliament to be submitted to Parliament;
3) with the exception of the position of Secretary-General, decide on permanent and interim appointments to permanent and temporary official positions in the office of Parliament, as well as on the discharge and dismissal of officials;
4) decide on leaves of absence of the officials and employees in the office of Parliament, as well as on the performance of their duties during such leaves of absence, unless otherwise provided in the regulations for the office of Parliament;
5) resolve all other matters pertaining to the administration and finances of Parliament, except those subject to the decision of the Speaker or an official in the office of Parliament;
6) submit a suggestion on the seating of the parliamentary factions in the assembly hall; and
7) arrange the private interpretation referred to in Sections 18 and 40.  If a matter within the authority of the office commission may not, due to its urgency, be presented to the office commission, the Speaker shall make a provisional decision on the matter on the presentation of an official serving as a presenting official in the office commission.  A provisionally decided matter shall be presented for the decision of the office commission as soon as possible.
 

Section 8  [Official Positions in the Office of Parliament]

The office of Parliament shall contain the following official positions:
Secretary-General of Parliament, assistant Secretary-General of Parliament, administrative director, senior parliamentary secretary, parliamentary secretary, heads of bureaux, committee secretaries and other permanent official positions.  Temporary officials and employees may also be engaged in the office of Parliament.
 

Section 9  [Secretary-General]

The Secretary-General of Parliament shall serve as the secretary of Parliament.  The Secretary-General of Parliament shall be elected by Parliament, after the Speaker has declared the position open for applications and the office commission has made a statement on the applicants.  If there are several applicants for the position, it shall be filled according to the provisions on the election of the Speaker.  If the position of Secretary-General is vacant or if the holder of the position is prevented from attending to his duties, the assistant Secretary-General of Parliament shall perform the duties of Secretary-General.  If the position of assistant Secretary General is also vacant or if the holder of the position is prevented from attending to his duties, then the speaker of Parliament by right of seniority or the Speaker shall summon the seniorparliamentary secretary, or another person whom he deems suitable, to attend to the duties of Secretary-General until the position has been filled or until the holder is no longer prevented from attending to his duties.
 

Part III  The Electors, the Committees and the Revisors

 

Section 10  [Committees]

The committees of Parliament shall be the Grand Committee and the committees.  The committees shall comprise the permanent and temporary committees.  In addition to the committees referred to in Section 40 of the Parliament Act, there shall be the following permanent committees: the Administration Committee, the Transport and Communications Committee, the Agriculture and Forestry Committee, the Defence Committee, the Culture Committee, the Committee for Social Affairs and Health, the Economy Committee, the Committee for Labor Affairs and the Environment Committee.  The Economy Committee shall consider the matters prescribed in Section 50 of the Parliament Act.
 

Section 11  [Electors]

The electors shall comprise forty-five members and sixteen deputy members.  Each permanent committee shall have seventeen members and nine deputy members, except the Finance Committee, which shall have twenty-one members and nineteen deputy members.  When Parliament decides to appoint a temporary committee it shall also, on the proposal of the Speaker's Council, decide how many members and deputy members the committee shall have.  The Grand Committee shall have twenty-five members and thirteen deputy members.
 

Section 12  [Revisors]

At the beginning of a session Parliament shall elect the revisors and deputy revisors referred to in Section 42a of the Parliament Act.  If Parliament is unable to agree on those elected, the election shall be postponed and conducted by proportional ballot.
 

Section 13  [Declining Committee Membership]

Anyone who has already been elected onto two committees shall have the right to decline membership of additional committees, with the exception of the Grand Committee.  The same provision shall apply to a person who has been elected onto one committee and to serve as a revisor.  It shall be for Parliament to decide whether a member of a committee may be discharged from his duties in a committee or as a revisor for another reason.
 

Section 14  [Chairmen of Committees]

The electors, the committees and the revisors shall elect their chairmen and deputy chairmen in the manner prescribed for the election of the Speaker.  The other elections shall be conducted by secret ballot, unless a consensus is reached on another procedure.  In other matters the decision shall be made by the voting procedure considered most suitable.  However, an open vote shall be taken on the basis of the roll call, if the Chairman considers it necessary or if a participant in the vote so demands.  If the votes are divided equally lots shall be drawn to resolve the matter.  The chairman, or when he is prevented from doing so, the deputy chairman shall convene the electors, a committee or the revisors.  When possible, the summons to a meeting shall be posted on the parliamentary bulletin boards.  Parliament shall be notified of the result of the elections of a chairman and deputy chairman.
 

Section 14a  [Disqualification of Chairmen]

If the chairman and the deputy chairman of a committee are disqualified from the consideration of a matter or if the committee must consider a matter urgently while the chairman and the deputy chairman are otherwise prevented from attending, then the committee shall, under the direction of the attending member most senior in years, elect a temporary chairman who shall then preside over the consideration of the matter.  The election of a temporary chairman of a committee shall be conducted in the same manner as the election of the chairman.
 

Section 15  [Secretaries of the Committees]

The secretaries of the committees shall be appointed by the office commission, after it has heard the committee in question.  The assistant Secretary-General shall serve as the secretary of the Grand Committee.  If the position of assistant Secretary-General is vacant or if the holder of the position is prevented from attending to his duties, another person appointed by the office commission shall serve as the secretary of the Grand Committee.  The secretaries of the electors and the revisors shall be appointed by the office commission.
 

Section 16  [Expert Opinions]

A committee may hear expert opinions and entitle them to participate in a debate.  When considering a legislative proposal or another matter which especially concerns the Sami, a committee shall, unless specific reasons otherwise warrant, give the representatives of the Sami an opportunity to be heard.
 

Section 17  [Duty to Attend]

If a member of a committee has failed to attend a meeting of the committee without an acceptable impediment or special permission, the committee may notify Parliament thereof.  On the basis of such notification Parliament may take the steps referred to in Section 51 (3) of the Parliament Act.
 

Section 18  [Languages in the Committee]

Each member of a committee shall have the right to use either Finnish or Swedish in the committee.  It shall be for the committee to decide whether or not interpretation is necessary, in what form and to what extent.  However, a member with insufficient command of the Finnish or Swedish language may have the proceedings of the committee privately interpreted, if he so desires.
 

Section 18a  [Preparation of Matters in Committees]

When Parliament sends a matter to a committee for preparation, it may at the same time instruct another committee to issue a statement to the preparing committee concerning the matter or a part thereof.  On its own initiative a committee may request a statement on a matter which it is preparing, or a part thereof, from another committee.  Within thirty days of the date when the budget proposal was sent to the Finance Committee, another committee may, on its own initiative, issue a statement to the Finance Committee on a matter included in the budget and within the competence of the committee.
 

Section 18b  [Order of Matters in Committees]

In general, a committee shall take up the matters sent to it for consideration in the following order:
1) Matters pertaining to proceeding with the agenda with a statement of reasons;
1a) Matters pertaining to the statement to be issued on the basis of a report by the Council of State;
2) The statements referred to in Section 80 of the ParliamentAct;
2a) Matters pertaining to Decisions of Parliament taken conditionally into the budget and not ratified by the President of the Republic;
3) Statements to be submitted to Parliament, the Grand Committee or another committee on matters referred to in Subparagraph (7);
4) Legislative proposals in postponement and unratified Acts;
5) Government proposals;
6) Reports;
7) Decrees, government resolutions and ministerial decisions submitted for the inspection of Parliament;
8) Statements to another committee regarding private member's bills;
9) Bills; and
10) Petitionary motions.
The budget motions sent to the Finance Committee shall be considered in connection with the budget proposal or a supplementary budget proposal.  A committee shall consider urgently the matters referred to in Paragraph (1), Subparagraphs (1), (1a), (2) and (2a).  The committee may, if necessary, consider the other matters in an order other than that prescribed in Paragraph (1), having regard to the provisions of Sections 21 and 22.
 

Section 18c  [Regular Meetings]

The committees shall meet regularly on weekdays other than Monday and Saturday.
 

Section 19  [Two Committee Readings]

Each matter shall be given two readings in a committee.  In the first reading the committee shall make a preliminary decision on the content of the report or statement.  In the second reading the committee shall make the final decisions on the basis of a draft report or statement prepared by the secretary.  In both readings, before the beginning of the detailed consideration, each member shall be given the opportunity to express his opinion on the matter as a whole.  Expert opinions shall be heard in the first reading, unless the committee for special reasons otherwise decides.  In the first reading, if two members so request, the matter shall be deferred once to a later committee meeting.  At other times the matter may be deferred, if the committee so decides.  A protest to be appended to a report and a dissenting opinion to be appended to a statement shall be announced in the second reading of the matter and given in writing to the secretary within a period determined by the committee.  The protest or dissenting opinion shall correspond to the position taken by the member in the decisive reading.  A committee may entrust the examination of a report or a statement, as well as that of the protests and the dissenting opinions, to special revisors and to the secretary.  The members participating in the decisive reading of a matter shall be noted in the report or statement as having participated in the reading of the matter.  If a member of a committee has participated in the decisive reading only partially, then this shall be noted in the report or statement.  The provisions in Paragraphs (1)-(5) above may be deviated from, if the committee unanimously so decides.
 

Section 20  [Sections in a Committee]

A committee may appoint a section from among its members to prepare a matter under its consideration and to compile a draft report or statement for the committee.  The provisions of Section 19 (1)-(3) and (7) shall apply to the consideration of a matter in a section.
 

Section 20a  [Joint Meetings of Committees]

If the same matter is under consideration in several committees, they may hear expert opinions in a joint meeting.  The committee chairman most senior in years shall preside over a joint meeting, unless otherwise agreed.
 

Section 20b  [Publicity of Committees]

If, pursuant to Section 52 (4) of the Parliament Act, a committee has declared some part of its proceedings open so that outsiders are allowed to attend the meeting, the chairman shall maintain order in the meeting observing, where applicable, the provisions of Sections 57 and 65.  Photography, tape recording and other recording and transmission of images and sound in the meeting by technical means shall be permitted with the consent of the committee.
 

Section 20c  [Documentation for Small Factions]

A parliamentary faction without a seat in a committee or a section thereof shall on request have the right to obtain a copy of the documents received or prepared by the committee or a section thereof during the consideration of a matter, except for secret documents.
 

Section 21  [Joint Report on Bills]

Government proposals and private member's bills concerning the same matter shall be considered together and a joint report on them shall be submitted, unless special reasons in a specific instance warrant a different procedure.  In any case the committee shall take care that the report on a Government proposal is not delayed for this reason.
 

Section 22  [Instructions to Committees]

If Parliament or the Grand Committee, in the instances referred to in Section 66 (5) of the Parliament Act, or Parliament otherwise has issued specific instructions for a committee on the performance of its duties, the committee shall comply with the instructions.
 

Section 23  [Concise Drafts]

A committee shall draft its reports and statements on the matters under its consideration in a concise manner.  In a report the proposals of the committee shall be presented in the form of resolutions.  The proposals in a protest shall be presented in the same manner, unless the protest is limited to the expression of a dissenting general view.
 

Section 24  [Protocol About Presenting Members]

When, pursuant to Section 45 of the Parliament Act, a committee has elected one or more presenting members, this shall be noted in the report.
 

Section 25  [Minutes of Meetings]

Minutes shall be kept of the meetings of the electors, the committees and the revisors.  The members who attended, the experts who were heard and the motions, votes and decisions that took place in the meeting shall be recorded in the minutes.
 

Section 26  [Signature on Documents]

The documents prepared by the electors, the committees and the revisors shall be signed by the chairman and verified by the secretary.
 

Section 27  [Grand Committee Meeting]

The Grand Committee shall assemble when a matter has been sent to it for consideration.  Meetings of the Grand Committee shall be announced in a plenary sitting of Parliament or innewspapers, in the manner prescribed in Section 31 for the announcement of plenary sittings of Parliament.  In addition, the agenda of the Grand Committee shall, if possible, be posted on the parliamentary bulletin boards well in advance of each meeting.  Unless otherwise provided in the procedure that the Grand Committee has approved for itself, the provisions of the Parliament Act and of this Procedure of Parliament regarding the consideration of matters in a committee shall apply to the consideration of matters in the Grand Committee.  In the meetings of the Grand Committee each member shall speak standing at his seat after having been given the floor.  If the Chairman of the Grand Committee wishes to participate in the debate, he shall give up his place to the deputy Chairman.
 

Section 28  [Revisor Meeting]

The revisors shall assemble when necessary.  For the purpose of performing their duties the revisors may divide into two or more groups.  A specified examination task may also be entrusted to one revisor.
 

Part IV  The Speaker's Council

 

Section 29  [Functions]

In addition to the duties prescribed in the Parliament Act and in this Procedure of Parliament, the Speaker's Council shall:
1) Make proposals on the organization of parliamentary work;
2) Issue, where necessary, general instructions for the work of the committees;
3) Approve regulations for the secretaries of the committees;
4) Make a proposal on the appointment of a temporary committee or make a statement on a proposal to appoint a temporary committee; and
5) Make a statement on any initiative of a representative concerning an amendment to the Procedure of Parliament.  If the votes in the Speaker's Council are divided equally, then the vote which was cast by the Speaker shall decide the matter.
 

Section 30  [Account of the Progress of a Matter]

At the request of the Speaker, the chairman of a committee shall present the Speaker's Council with an account of the progress of a matter under consideration in the committee.
 

Part V  Plenary Sittings

 

Section 31  [Dates]

Plenary sittings shall generally take place on each Tuesday and Friday.  When the consideration of matters so demands, plenary sittings shall also be held on other days of the week.  The summons to a plenary sitting of Parliament shall, if possible, be posted well in advance of the sitting on the parliamentary bulletin boards and announced in the major newspapers of the capital city, as further determined by the office commission.  If an election is to be conducted in the plenary sitting, this shall be stated in the summon
 

Section 32  [Agenda]

The agenda of a plenary sitting, containing a list of the matters to be considered in the sitting and of the documents pertaining to them, shall, where possible, be posted on the parliamentary bulletin boards well in advance of the plenary sitting.
 

Section 33  [Roll Call]

At the beginning of a plenary sitting the roll shall be called. When several plenary sittings are held on the same day, the roll call may, at the discretion of the Speaker, be omitted and the representatives present in the earlier plenary sitting may be 51 noted as present in the later sittings.  A representative who does not arrive at the plenary sitting within fifteen minutes of the roll call shall be noted in the minutes as having been absent at the roll call.  A representative who arrives at the plenary sitting thereafter shall be noted in the minutes to have been present from the time when he announced himself to the Speaker by handing in his name-slip.  A roll call shall not be held in a plenary sitting convened to consider the matters referred to in Sections 37a and 37b of the Parliament Act.
 

Section 34  [Private Member's Bills]

A private member's bill shall be submitted to the central bureau.  A motion by a representative to appoint a temporary committee shall be presented in writing to the Speaker well in advance of the plenary sitting, wherein it shall be considered as a separate matter.  If a representative desires another matter lying within the competence of Parliament to be considered in a plenary sitting, and provisions on the initiation of such a matter have not been elsewhere separately prescribed, then he shall submit a written proposal on the matter to the Speaker well in advance of the sitting.  The matter and the proposal of the representative shall be stated concisely in this proposal.  Only in exceptional cases may a matter be taken up for consideration without such a written proposal.
 

Section 35  [General Opinions on Matters]

In a plenary sitting of Parliament, before beginning the detailed consideration of a matter, the representatives shall be given an opportunity to express their opinion on the matter as a whole in a general discussion.
 

Section 36  [Requesting the Floor]

In a plenary sitting a representative may request the floor by giving or sending his name-slip to the parliamentary clerk (a written request) or orally, by standing up at his seat (an oral request).  An oral request shall not be permitted while another representative is speaking.  In a general discussion of a matter on the agenda, a representative may also request the floor in advance by personally handing in a name-slip to the senior secretary in the central bureau or to the person attending to his duties.  The request shall be made no sooner than three hours before the beginning of the sitting.  If requests for the floor are presented at the same time both in writing and orally, the written requests shall be given priority.  If several people request the floor at the same time either in writing or orally, the Speaker shall determine the order of speaking.  On a request made during or immediately after a comment the Speaker may, at his discretion, allow a representative the floor for a reply from his seat taking no longer than two minutes, to be given in advance of an earlier request for the floor.  For a special reason the floor may also be given for such a reply to be made before the replies requested earlier.  A reply may comprise only clarifications and corrections of the previous comment and a rejoinder to a claim made therein.  In addition, the provisions of Sections 59 and 60 of the Parliament Act shall be observed in giving the floor.
 

Section 37  [Rotating Presence on the Floor]

For the purposes of a debate during the consideration of the State budget proposal or the report of the Finance Committee on the State budget proposal, as well as of a statement, notification or report submitted by the Council of State and of a response or notification on the basis of an interpellation, therequests for the floor presented in advance of the sitting in question shall be sorted according to guidelines established by the Speaker's Council so that they rotate from one parliamentary faction to another from the largest to the smallest.  A corresponding procedure shall be followed, if the Speaker's Council so decides, when considering a proposal for a supplementary budget or another matter of consequence.  However, after a response or a notification on the basis of an interpellation the floor shall be given first to the first signatory of the interpellation.  After the beginning of the debate in the plenary sitting the requesting and giving of the floor shall comply with the provisions of Section 57 (1) of the Parliament Act and Section 36 of this Procedure of Parliament
 

Section 38  [Speeches]

After having been granted the floor each representative shall speak standing at the podium positioned for the purpose in the assembly hall.  A representative may speak from his seat only for the purpose of a short comment, taking no longer than two minutes.  If the representative wishes to continue his comment for a longer time, the Speaker shall exhort him to take the podium.  However, if the Speaker considers it necessary, he may exhort the representative to take the podium regardless of the extent of the comment, or for a special reason allow a comment from the seats regardless of its duration.
 

Section 39  [Divergence]

Each representative shall keep strictly to the matter under consideration.  If he digresses from the subject, the Speaker shall remind him to keep to the point.  If the representative fails to heed the reminder the Speaker shall deny him the floor.
 

Section 40  [Translation]

After a comment in Swedish in a plenary sitting, a summary of its content shall be presented in Finnish.  The account of the Speaker regarding the motions submitted and the notification referred to in Section 80 (1) of the Parliament Act shall be presented in Finnish and Swedish.  If the Speaker considers it necessary, his other announcements shall also be presented in Swedish as well as in Finnish.  The content of the comments made in Finnish, the Speaker's proposals for the voting order and his announcements given only in Finnish shall be interpreted to those Swedish-speaking representatives with an insufficient command of Finnish, if they so wish.
 

Section 41  [Deferred Matter]

Unless otherwise provided in the Parliament Act, a matter shall be deferred, if Parliament so decides.  A statement, notification and report submitted by the Council of State and an interpellation may not be deferred after the debate on them has begun.  Provisions on the postponement of the decision on the said matters are prescribed in Section 52.
 

Section 42  [Motion for Deferral During Debate]

If, after the debate on a matter has begun, a motion for its deferral is submitted, or some other motion is submitted, the approval of which would interrupt the substantive consideration of the matter, and the motion has been seconded, then the next representatives to take the floor shall, at the behest of the Speaker, confine their statements to commenting on this motion.  A decision shall be made on the motion before permitting debate on the matter proper.  If the motion is not approved, the advance requests for the floor which, before the motion, had not yet been granted shall be granted first when the debate resumes.  If the consideration of a matter is begun or resumed after the matter has in a previous sitting been removed from theagenda or deferred, or its consideration has been interrupted, the advance requests for the floor that, due to the said reason, had not yet been granted shall be  ranted first.
 

Section 43  [Committee Selection]

If a matter referred to in Section 63 of the Parliament Act is presented for the purpose of sending it to a committee, and controversy arises regarding to which committee it should be sent, the issue shall be resolved without deferring the matter, unless a request that the matter be deferred is submitted.
 

Section 44  [Motions During Plenary Sitting]

A motion submitted by a representative in a plenary sitting, which is not included in the documents of the sitting, shall be submitted to the secretary in writing to be given to the Speaker, if the Speaker considers this to be necessary.  A motion to amend a legislative matter in its second reading, which is not included in the documents of the sitting, shall, if possible, be handed in to the central bureau, in writing and without a statement of reasons, no later than three hours before the plenary sitting.  The motion shall be duplicated and distributed to the representatives before a decision on it is made in the plenary sitting.  For a special reason the Speaker may present a motion for voting even if it has not been submitted following this procedure.  The provisions of Paragraph (2) shall correspondingly be applied to a motion concerning a parliamentary petition or a statement of reasons for it, which is to be submitted in the third reading of a legislative matter or in the only reading of a matter other than the State budget.  If, during the consideration of the State budget, a representative wishes to submit a motion to amend the report of the Finance Committee, the motion, even if it forms part of a protest appended to the report, shall be handed in to the central bureau at a time determined by Parliament, in writing and without a statement of reasons, for duplication and distribution to the representatives.  The distribution shall take place before the beginning of the consideration of the main division or section concerned or of the general statement of reasons for the budget.  An amendment motion that has not been handed in to the central bureau within the time referred to above shall not be considered, unless for a special reason the Speaker considers this necessary.  When a Finance Committee report on a supplementary budget is under consideration, the provisions of Paragraph (2) shall correspondingly be applied to an amendment motion, unless Parliament otherwise decides.  A motion which has not been seconded shall not be presented for voting.
 

Section 45  [Elections by Secret Ballot]

Elections shall be conducted by secret ballot.  A ballot paper shall state only the name and, if necessary, the profession of the selected candidate.  This information shall be expressed sufficiently clearly that no uncertainty about the intended person can arise.
 

Section 45a  [Mechanical Vote]

In matters other than those referred to in Section 45 the vote shall be taken using the voting apparatus (mechanical voting), by standing up or by open ballot.  The Speaker shall announce the mode of voting.  No debate on the mode of voting shall be permitted.  A mechanical vote shall be performed, regardless of whether a vote has already been taken by standing up, if the Speaker considers this to be necessary or if, in the opinion of the Speaker, the vote taken by standing up was inconclusive, or if a representative so requests.  Ballot voting shall be used if the mechanical vote announced is, for technicalreasons, impossible or if the result of the mechanical vote is, in the opinion of the Speaker, unreliable, or if the votes are divided equally.  However, if the votes are divided equally in a vote which does not concern the final decision of Parliament for the reading in question, then the mechanical vote shall be performed again.  Ballot voting shall then be used if the votes are also equally divided in the second mechanical vote.  The ballot vote shall be conducted according to the roll call, using ballot papers of different colors.  Only the name of the representative and either the word yea or the word nay shall be printed on the ballot.  The ballot papers shall be read aloud and counted.  After the vote the Speaker shall state the result of the vote.  If the vote was taken by standing up, the result shall be announced by stating the majority or the minority.
 

Section 45b  [Decision by Lot]

A ballot paper that does not comply with the provisions of Section 45 or Section 45a (3) shall be rejected.  When the votes are divided equally, the result shall be determined by the drawing of lots, unless a qualified majority or minority is required for the approval of the proposal.
 

Section 45c  [Recording Votes]

If a qualified majority or minority is required for the approval of a proposal, if the Speaker considers it necessary, or if no fewer than twenty representatives so request by standing up immediately after the result of a vote has been declared, the vote of each participant in a mechanical vote or a ballot vote, as well as which representatives were absent from the voting, shall be recorded in the minutes.  No debate on the matter shall be permitted.  Complete voting results of all votes taken shall be recorded.  The requested information on them shall be given to anyone desirous thereof.
 

Section 46  [Ballot Boxes]

A ballot vote and an election shall be performed using two ballot boxes, except for the elections of the Speaker and the Deputy Speakers, where one ballot box shall be used.  The representatives shall bring their ballot papers to the ballot box in the order in which their names are called.  The ballot papers shall not be brought to the ballot box in any other order.  After the roll call the four representatives whom the Speaker has requested to assist in the voting or the election shall come to the Speaker's rostrum.  Two of these representatives shall assist the Speaker in the inspection of the ballots and in the announcing of the votes cast, and two, together with the secretary, shall record the votes cast.
 

Section 47  [Minutes Examination]

The minutes of the plenary sittings shall be examined by the Speaker Corps.
 

Section 48  [Record of Decisions]

A concise record of decisions shall without delay be drawn up for a plenary sitting.
 

Section 49  [Comments of Representatives]

A copy of the statement of each commenting representative shall be sent to him for examination from the record bureau.  If he wishes to correct something in his statement, he shall note the corrections on the copy and sign his name to certify that he has approved the statement.  A commenting representative shall, if possible, return the copy to the record bureau or examine his statement there within twelve hours of the end of the sitting.  The statement shall otherwise be considered approved as it stands.  If a commenting representative has madesubstantive alterations to his statement, especially if the alterations concern points that have been contested or supported by other representatives, the examiners of the minutes shall remark on this to the commenting representative and, if no agreement on the matter can be reached, the examiners shall also notify Parliament thereof.
 

Section 50  [No Debate on Election]

No debate shall be permitted on an election to be performed by Parliament, unless the matter concerns the filling of a vacancy that has been declared open for applications.
 

Section 51  [Motion to Declare a Matter Urgent]

The motion to declare a matter urgent, required by Section 67 (2) of the Parliament Act, shall, unless it has been submitted in the report of a committee, be submitted in the third reading of the matter, before the debate has been formally concluded.
 

Section 52  [Sending Matters to a Committee]

If, in cases referred to in Section 36 (2) or in Section 37 (3) of the Parliament Act, a decision is to be made on a motion other than simply to approve of proceeding with the agenda or to send the matter to a committee, then after the debate has concluded a decision shall first be made on the motion to send the matter to a committee.  After the debate on the matter has been formally concluded Parliament may, in cases referred to in Sections 36 and 37 of the Parliament Act, postpone until the following plenary sitting the decision to proceed with the agenda or to send the matter to a committee.  The motion to postpone the decision shall be submitted before the debate on the matter has been formally concluded.
 

Section 52a  [Withdrawal of Written Questions]

The written question referred to in Section 37 of the Parliament Act may be withdrawn by its first signatory before the competent member of the Council of State has been notified of the question.
 

Section 52b  [Oral Questions]

Oral questions and the responses and notifications arising from them shall usually be considered in the plenary sitting held each Thursday.  If necessary, another special sitting may be held for the consideration of the said matters.  Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 38 the representatives shall present their questions and comments from their seats and the members of the Council of State their replies, responses and notifications from the seats reserved for them in the assembly hall.  When, in a plenary sitting, there is no time to consider a question forming part of the agenda of that sitting, or if the member of the Council of State has not been able to attend in order to respond to the question, the consideration of the matter shall be postponed to the plenary sitting referred to in Paragraph (1).  If a representative is not present to ask his question at the time reserved for him, although the member of the Council of State has attended in order to respond to the question, then the question shall lapse unless the member of the Council of State wishes to respond to it at once.  The response to an oral question shall take no longer than three minutes and any other comment pertaining thereto no longer than two minutes.  A question may be withdrawn before the competent member of the Council of State has been notified thereof.
 

Section 52c  [Plenary Sitting for Questions to the Council of State]

The plenary sitting for questions to the Council of State shall usually be that held on the first Thursday of the month.  If necessary, another special sitting may be held for theconsideration of these matters.  A question to be put to the Council of State shall be presented to the Speaker no later than one week before the plenary sitting referred to in paragraph 1.  The Speaker's Council shall without delay decide which questions shall be forwarded to the Council of State.  A response shall be given to a question regardless of the absence of its first signatory.  The response to a question shall take no longer than five minutes and any other comment pertaining thereto no longer than one minute.  The provisions of Section 52b (2) shall, where applicable, apply to a plenary sitting for questions to the Council of State.
 

Section 53  [List of Postponed Matters]

In the first regular session of Parliament following an election the Speaker's Council shall prepare for presentation to Parliament a list of the legislative proposals approved by Parliament to be ]eft in postponement and at the same time shall submit, for the decision of Parliament the matter of which of them shall be deemed to have lapsed according to Section 74 of the Parliament Act.  The Speaker's Council shall also propose to which committee those legislative proposals which have been approved to be left in postponement and which Parliament has not considered to have lapsed in the manner provided in Paragraph 1 shall be sent for reports.
 

Section 53a  [Postponed Matters for Committees]

In those regular sessions of Parliament, to which Parliament has left legislative proposals in postponement pursuant to Section 66 (7) of the Parliament Act, the Speaker's Council shall prepare for presentation to Parliament a list of the legislative proposals left in postponement until the said session and at the same time shall submit, for the decision of Parliament the matter of which of them shall be deemed to have lapsed according to Section 74 of the Parliament Act.  The Speaker's Council shall also propose to which committee those legislative proposals which have been left in postponement and which Parliament has not considered to have lapsed in the manner provided in Paragraph (1) shall be sent for reports.
 

Section 53b  [Lapsed Acts]

The notification by the President of the Republic, referred to in Section 84 of the Parliament Act, shall be presented to Parliament.  In those regular sessions of Parliament during which the consideration of an Act not ratified by the President shall according to Section 73a of the Parliament Act be initiated, the Speaker's Council shall submit a proposal to Parliament concerning whether an Act that has been returned to Parliament unratified shall be deemed to have lapsed according to Section 74 of the Parliament Act.  The Speaker's Council shall also propose to which committee an Act that has been returned to Parliament unratified and which Parliament has not considered to have lapsed in the manner provided in Paragraph (2) shall be sent for a report.
 

Section 53c  [Sending Matters to the Finance Committee]

The notification by the President of the Republic, referred to in Section 76 (3) of the Parliament Act shall be presented to Parliament without delay and, in a plenary sitting held soon thereafter, the matter shall be sent to the Finance Committee for a report.
 

Section 54  [Discontinuation After Withdrawal]

If a Government proposal or a private member's bill is withdrawn, the consideration of the matter shall be discontinued.
 

Section 55  [Resuming Interrupted Matters]

In the cases referred to in Section 35 of the Parliament Act the consideration of a matter shall be resumed from the stage at which its consideration was interrupted during the previous session of Parliament.  If, in the previous session of Parliament, the consideration of a matter was interrupted in a committee, it shall be for the committee to decide, having regard to the provisions of Section 19, from which stage the consideration of the matter shall be resumed.
 

Section 56  [Closing Time of Sessions]

A plenary sitting shall not be continued after 11 pm, unless the Speaker considers this necessary for a special reason.
 

Section 57  [Expressions in Parliament]

Clamorous expressions of approval or disapproval shall not be permitted in a plenary sitting of Parliament.
 

Section 58  [Publicity]

If the Speaker considers a matter to be of such a character that it is not to be considered in a sitting open to the public, or if twenty-five members of Parliament have requested that a matter be considered in a closed sitting, the Speaker shall have the galleries cleared and shall present for the decision of Parliament whether or not the matter is to be considered in a sitting open to the public.  The agenda of a sitting closed to the public shall not be made available for public inspection.
 

Part VI  Miscellaneous Provisions

 

Section 59  [Language for Texts]

Matters shall be considered in Parliament on the basis of a Finnish-language text.  The Swedish bureau shall draft a Swedish-language version of the text, the final wording of which shall, with the authority of Parliament, be determined by the revisors referred to in Section 42a of the Parliament Act.
 

Section 60  [Abridged Version of Minutes]

In addition to the minutes of the plenary sittings of Parliament and an abridged version of the minutes in the Swedish language the following documents of the parliamentary session shall be published in print: Government proposals and letters of withdrawal pertaining to Government proposals, the list prepared by the Speaker's Council, referred to in Sections 53 and 53a, the notification by the President of the Republic and the proposal of the Speaker's Council, referred to in Section 53b, the notification by the President of the Republic, referred to in Section 53c, Decrees, government resolutions and ministerial decisions presented for the inspection of Parliament, reports, statements and notifications by the Council of State, unless they are published with the minutes of Parliament, reports and statements of the committees, replies and communications of Parliament, private member's bills, questions put to the Council of State, written questions and the summation of the parliamentary session.  The office commission shall issue further guidelines for the printing.
 

Section 61  [Term of Revisors]

The revisors referred to in Section 42a of the Parliament Act shall remain in office until they have fulfilled their duties.
 

Section 62  [Proportional Ballot]

When an election to be performed by Parliament or by the electors is to be conducted by proportional ballot, it shall be performed according to the provisions in the Election Rules of Parliament.
 

Section 63  [Ineligibility]

If Parliament has declared a representative ineligible for service as a representative or sentenced a representative to forfeit his mandate, if Parliament has discharged a representative from his position, or if Parliament has been notified of the death of a representative, then the secretary of Parliament shall notify without delay the central election committee of the appropriate electoral district of the decision of Parliament or of the death.
 

Section 64  [Leave of Absence]

If a representative desires a leave of absence from parliamentary business, he shall request it of Parliament.  No leave for a period longer than one week shall be granted, unless the representative presents a compelling reason for the request.
 

Section 65  [Visitors in Galleries]

Those listening to the debates of Parliament in the galleries shall comply strictly with the rules for the maintenance of order and with any ordinances that the office commission may issue for the purpose.  Such regulations shall be suitably posted for public information.  In case of disorder the Speaker shall have the galleries cleared.
 

Section 66  [Amendment of the Procedure of Parliament]

If a representative wishes to submit a motion for the amendment of the Procedure of Parliament, he shall present a written proposal thereof to Parliament.  If Parliament does not dismiss the proposal, it shall be sent to the Speaker's Council for a statement.
 

Section 67  [Publication of Procedure of Parliament]

A decision of Parliament on the amendment of the Procedure of Parliament shall enter into force at the time determined by Parliament.  The Procedure of Parliament and amendments thereto shall be published in The Statutes of Finland.

For methodology see: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law.
© 1994 - May 29th, 2010 / Translation provided by M. Scheinin.
For corrections please contact A. Tschentscher.