How is the Parliament elected?

How is the Parliament elected?

The 30-member Parliament is elected every four years by secret and proportional elections. The voting age is 18 years. Åland's local law is a prerequisite for voting rights and eligibility.

Parliamentary Elections

General information about the elections

The members of the Parliament are appointed by means of immediate and secret ballots where the right to vote is universal and equal for all those entitled to vote.

According to the Autonomy Act, the Parliament has legislative powers in relation to elections to the Parliament. The provisions on the parliamentary elections can be found in Elections Act for Åland (ÅFS 2019:45). 

You can read more about the elections here 

The latest elections

The last legislative elections were held on 20 October 2019. After the election, eight groups are represented in the Parliament. You can read more about the Parliament elections here.

Statistics about the elections are available on the ÅSUB website.

Other elections

Simultaneously with the parliamentary elections, the municipal elections in the 16 Ålandic municipalities are held. When it comes to elections to the Finnish Parliament and the European Parliament, as well as to the presidential elections, the Ålandic people go to the polls at the same time as the rest of the country.

Electoral participation in elections held in Åland since 1979

Figures and data in Excel format are available from ÅSUB.

Appointing the Head of Government (Lantråd) and approving the government program

Formation of the government

Government negotiations

Immediately after the general election, sometimes already on election night, the parliamentary groups begin the negotiations on the formation of a regional government. There are no formalised rules for under whose leadership the negotiations are to be conducted, but in practice the negotiations are primarily conducted under the leadership of the winning party. The winning party usually refers to the largest party. If it is unclear which party is the largest, the number of votes and the number of increased seats are given importance in determining this.

Choosing the Head of Government (Lantråd)

A new Speaker will be elected at the opening of the new Parliament. The Speaker’s task is to propose who should be appointed as the Lantråd. In order to be able to submit a proposal that has the potential to win sufficient support, the Speaker must first survey the legislative groups, but this survey is informal.

The Speaker then announces before the Parliament the candidate for the position, after which the Parliament elects the Lantråd. If the candidate is not elected, the Speaker proposes a new candidate, and if they do not succeed in being elected, an open election will be held in the Parliament. If the proposed candidate has received more than half of the votes cast, the person proposed by the Speaker is elected as the Lantråd. It is therefore possible to form a minority government.

Appointing the ministers

When the Parliament has elected the Lantråd, they must inform the Speaker of who are proposed to be the ministers in the new government. The Speaker then appoints the ministers and the new regional government can give its oath of office and take office with the resignation of the old regional government.

The new regional government immediately prepares its governing programme, which is submitted to the Parliament in the form of a communication. The communication is debated in the Parliament and then a decision is taken on the approval of the government's programme. This vote requires more than half of the votes to be cast for approval. If the votes for approval do not reach this threshold, measures must be taken to begin the process of re-forming the regional government.

Changing ministers

If the composition of theregional government later changes significantly, the same procedure shall be followed as in the formation of a new regional government. The Lantråd can replace a minister without the active involvement of the Parliament. However, the possibility of censure of the Lantråd always exists in such a situation. If more than one minister is replaced, a notice shall be given to the Parliament in the same manner as when a new regional government is appointed, after which a vote shall be taken on the notice of the change of ministers.

The working hours of the Parliament during the term


The Parliament is elected for a four-year term. The current Parliament has been elected for the term beginning from 4 November 2019 and ending on 31 October 2023, and is therefore often referred to as the Parliament of 2019–2023.

Working year

The Parliament’s working year usually begins in early November and ends at the end of October, unless the Parliament decides otherwise.

The working year is divided into different plenary periods, which were previously known as sessions. The Parliament meets in the Chamber during the plenary periods. However, the committees always meet when necessary, even when it is not a plenary period. The length of the plenary periods may vary depending on the number of matters at hand.

A working year is usually divided into the following periods, with the following approximate dates:

1 November to 20 January (previously known as the Autumn Session)

1 March to 30 April (previously known as the Spring Session)

2 to 3 weeks at the end of May/the beginning of June

2 to 3 weeks in early September (previously called the Closing Session).

Meeting times

The schedule of meetings during the parliamentary work periods (sessions) usually is as follows:

Monday: Group meetings, 12.30 Speakers’ Conference Chamber, 13.00 Plenary

Tuesday: Committee meetings

Wednesday: Group meetings, 13.00 Plenary

Thursday: Committee meetings

Friday: Autonomy Committee, Parliament Office Commission, Reserve Day for Plenary