The Government

The Government Palace by Senate Square

The term ‘Government’ refers to the Government of Finland, which consists of the Prime Minister and the required number of ministers. It also denotes a decision-making body consisting of the Government plenary session and the ministries.


The Prime Minister is elected by Parliament and thereafter formally appointed by the President of the Republic. The President appoints other ministers in accordance with a proposal from the Prime Minister. Ministers must be Finnish citizens, known for their integrity and ability to serve.


Decisions concerning matters falling within the purview of the Government are made by government plenary sessions or the relevant ministry. Broad-based issues and important matters of principle are decided in a plenary session. The Government sees to preparatory and procedural work on decisions to be made by the President of the Republic.


Functions of the Government

The Prime Minister directs the activities of the Government and oversees preparatory and procedural work on matters falling within the mandate of the Government. The Prime Minister chairs plenary sessions of the Government and statutory Cabinet Committees.

Facts about the Government

Finnish Governments

Since its independence in 1917, Finland has had 73 governments, 43 prime ministers and almost 600 ministers.


The longest-serving Governments have been those led by Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen. Prime Minister Lipponen led two Governments, which served for a combined total of 1,464 days. The longest-serving minister was Johannes Virolainen, who served on various cabinets for a total of 6,169 days.

Governments and Ministers since 1917