Government formation talks 2023

How is a government formed after the parliamentary elections?

Säätytalo Snellmaninkadun puolelta katsottuna.

In the government formation talks, discussions are held to agree on the new government programme, the number of ministers, the ministerial portfolios and the division of responsibilities between the parties.

The process of forming a new government begins after the organising of Parliament and the State Opening of Parliament. A representative of the parliamentary group that won the most seats in Parliament in the election invites the representatives of the parliamentary groups to a meeting to agree on a leader for the preliminary discussions on the formation of a new government. After the elections, the outgoing government resigns and continues as a caretaker government until the new government is appointed.

The leader of the preliminary discussions presents a series of questions to the parliamentary groups to ascertain the parties’ views on key issues for the formation of the new government. Based on the responses and discussions with the parliamentary groups, the leader of the preliminary discussions decides which groups will move on to the government formation talks.

In the government formation talks, which in recent decades have been held at the House of the Estates, groups consisting of representatives of the parties negotiate on common objectives for the new government. The talks also involve consultations with experts and representatives of interest groups. During the process, an individual party may withdraw from the talks and the leader may invite new groups to the negotiating table. The leader of the talks may also change, meaning that the government will be formed on a new basis.

Government Programme and appointment of the Government

In the government formation talks, the parties agree on the Government Programme, which is a political action plan approved by the parties that sets out the objectives and most important tasks for the government term.

Based on these talks, and having heard the views of the Speaker of Parliament, the President of the Republic informs Parliament of the nominee for Prime Minister to be put forward for election by Parliament. The nominee is elected Prime Minister if their election is supported by more than half the votes cast in an open vote in Parliament.

The President formally appoints the Prime Minister and other government ministers at a presidential session. This is also when the outgoing government officially resigns.

Government's constitutive session

Promptly after its appointment, the new Government convenes for a constitutive session. At the start of the session, the ministers take an oath or affirmation of office and a judicial oath, if they have not yet done so. The session decides on the division of responsibilities of ministers working in the same ministry, the composition of statutory ministerial committees and the deputising arrangements for the prime minister and other ministers.

The Government Programme is given as a statement to Parliament. At the end of its discussion, Parliament holds a vote of confidence on the Government. The Government will implement its programme based on Parliament’s confidence.


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