Appointment and organisation

Before the Prime Minister’s election, the parties represented in the new Parliament negotiate on the political programme and composition of the Government. On the basis of these negotiations, and having heard the views of the Speaker of Parliament, the President of the Republic informs Parliament of the nominee for Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister is elected by Parliament and then formally appointed by the President of the Republic. The President appoints the other ministers in accordance with a proposal made by the Prime Minister.

The nominee is elected Prime Minister if supported by more than half the votes cast in an open vote by Parliament. If the nominee does not achieve the necessary majority, another nominee is put forward in accordance with the same procedure. If the second nominee also fails to receive the support of more than half the votes cast, the Prime Minister is elected by a third open vote in Parliament. In this event, the candidate receiving the highest number of votes is elected.

The ministers are appointed to their duties by an open letter of appointment from the President of the Republic. Ministers must be Finnish citizens, known for their integrity and ability to serve.

The open letter of appointment names the Prime Minister and the portfolios of the other members of the Government (e.g. Minister of Finance) or the ministry to which they are appointed (e.g. the Minister of Culture is responsible for matters covered by the Ministry of Education and Culture).

The decision on the appointment of the Government is made by the President of the Republic in a presidential session of the Government. The presidential session is attended by the members of the resigning administration.

The President of the Republic accepts, upon request, the resignation of the Government as a whole or of an individual minister. Even if no request is made, the President may in any event dismiss the Government as a whole or an individual minister if they no longer enjoy the confidence of Parliament. On the proposal of the Prime Minister, the President may also accept the resignation of a minister for some other reason.

Division of responsibilities between ministers and ministerial deputies

At its first plenary session, the Government decides on the division of responsibilities between ministers, for ministries with more than one minister. Ministers are of equal status within the ministry.

Each minister is responsible for international and EU matters falling within the ministry’s mandate and matters related to appointments and personnel administration. Each minister also directs financial planning, budget preparation and other joint matters within its field of activity.

The Government appoints the ministers who will stand in for the Prime Minister and other ministers when the latter are temporarily unable to act. When the minister deputising for the Prime Minister is prevented from attending to his/her duties, the most senior minister will stand in. Other ministers have usually four or five deputies.

Oath or affirmation

Before taking office, a member of the Government shall take an oath of office or make an equivalent affirmation and take a judicial oath.

The ministers take their oath and make their affirmation at the first government plenary session after their appointment as a minister.

Government Programme

The Government Programme is a plan of action agreed by the parties participating in the Government and it sets out the main tasks facing the incoming administration. An incoming Government must issue a communication to Parliament on its programme without delay. The Prime Minister monitors the implementation of the programme.

Ministers' private interests

While holding the position of minister, a minister may not hold a public office or other position which might compromise the performance of his or her ministerial duties or compromise the credibility of his or her actions as a minister. Upon being appointed, ministers must provide an account of their commercial activities, shareholdings, other significant assets and liabilities, and any outside duties or other interests which may be of relevance in evaluating their performance as a minister.

The Prime Minister's Office draws up a list of ministers' private interests immediately after their formal appointment to office. These details are then communicated to Parliament in the form of a government communication.

Ministers' pay and allowances

Ministers' pay and allowances are defined in the act on pay to Members of Parliament. A minister's salary equals the sum payable to the deputy speaker of Parliament. The salary paid to the prime minister equals that paid to the speaker of Parliament.

Ministers serving as Members of Parliament are also entitled to Member of Parliament’s salary and expense allowance. However, Members of Parliament appointed as ministers forfeit half of the salary and expense allowance they receive from Parliament.

Ministers receive a salary as of the day when they assume their ministerial responsibilities. The right to salary expires upon acceptance of the minister's resignation or the time at which the minister is considered to have resigned from his/her ministerial duties.

Ministers are entitled to 30 days of paid leave corresponding to annual holiday.

Ministerial Committees

One of the tasks in organising the incoming administration is appointment of the Ministerial Committees.

There are four statutory Ministerial Committees: the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy, the Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs, the Ministerial Finance Committee and the Ministerial Committee on Economic Policy.

Order of seating

The Prime Minister's Office draws up the order of seating for ministers at plenary sessions and presidential sessions of the Government on the basis of seniority.

The most senior minister is the Prime Minister, followed by the minister appointed by the Government as the minister deputising for the Prime Minister. Next in line are those ministers who have previously held ministerial office, their seniority being determined according to their length of service as a minister. Finally, for those new to ministerial office, seniority is determined according to length of service in Parliament and duties discharged either in Parliament or for their party