Annex 9. Fostering democracy

Civil society

By permitting decision-making by a vote of members in all matters falling within the mandate of association meeting, members of associations have better and more ef-fective opportunities to directly influence the activities of the associations. To support the development of Finnish associations, we will make legislative amendments that facilitate the merging of two or more associations.

Opportunities to help develop the fundraising activities of civil society organisations will be explored to strengthen the resources of the civil society.

We will assess the need to develop the citizens’ initiative scheme, for example in order to ensure that an initiative does not lapse at the end of a parliamentary term and that technicalities do not prevent the implementation of an initiative.

Participation of young people

The minimum age for signing a citizens’ initiative will be lowered to 15 years to encour-age young people to engage in society.

The social inclusion and participation of children and young people will be promoted with digital means, and efforts will be made to improve their media literacy. Schools will bear more responsibility for democracy education and social education. To strengthen the active citizenship of children and young people, interaction between political parties, the civil society and schools will be enhanced. The role of Youth Council members in municipal and regional decision-making will be emphasised.

A well-functioning political system

Better operating conditions particularly for the political opposition will be provided by developing the independent computing services available to all parliamentary parties. These services can generate models of the economic impacts of the proposals made by the parties. Public access will be provided to the key computing and forecasting models used by the ministries and other public administration bodies.

To drive new societal initiatives, funding will be targeted to think-tanks close to politi-cal parties to support political decision-making and the use of scientific research data. Sufficient resources will be ensured for social research that is independent of any parties and supports decision-making.

Steps will be taken to promote transparency in politics and to provide citizens with information at an earlier stage on both the national and municipal level.

The provisions governing the nomination of candidates in elections will be reformed to allow more diverse democratic decision-making methods as specified in the rules and regulations of a political party.

A parliamentary working group will be set up to examine the needs to amend the Act on Political Parties, the Act on a Candidate’s Election Funding and the Election Act, and, if necessary, any other legislation regarding political activities.

Election and political party financing

With regard to financing, steps will be taken to ensure equal treatment of all political youth organisations.

The legislation and practices concerning the disclosure of election and political party financing will be developed to ensure that the facts disclosed provide an accurate picture of external financing that may involve personal interests.

To increase the transparency of election and party financing, the National Audit Office of Finland will be granted more extensive rights to supervise the campaign financing disclosures filed by candidates and to obtain information from third parties for this purpose.

We will investigate ways of informing voters about campaign financing before the elections, facilitating the opening of campaign accounts, and enhancing the statutory ceiling for donations.