Citizens can influence national legislation and decision-making in their home municipalities or in the European Union by submitting or supporting initiatives.
The citizens’ initiative is a tool for Finnish citizens to directly influence legislation. You can use a citizens’ initiative to propose a new act or to amend or repeal existing legislation.
A citizens’ initiative may proceed to the Parliament’s consideration if it is signed by at least 50,000 citizens in favour of the initiative within six months since the initiative has been registered in the kansalaisaloite.fi service.
You may prepare a citizens’ initiative if you are a citizen of Finland entitled to vote in the parliamentary elections. You can use the kansalaisaloite.fi service for submitting your initiative and collecting signatures, or opinions in favour of the initiative.
You can collect signatures for a citizens’ initiative both electronically and using a paper form. Any citizen of Finland entitled to vote may support a valid initiative.
For instance, changing the Marriage Act, i.e. the so-called equal marriage act, and the Maternity Act started out as citizens' initiatives that proceeded to the Parliament.
The Local Government Act guarantees municipal residents the right to submit initiatives on matters concerning the municipality’s activities. The municipality has to notify those who submitted the initiative of any action taken in response to the proposal. You can submit an initiative using the kuntalaisaloite.fi service if your municipality has joined the service.
If an initiative is supported by at least two per cent of the municipality’s residents, the matter must be considered within six months of it being initiated. Those who use services provided by the municipality also have the right to submit initiatives in matters concerning the service in question.
Residents can also submit initiatives on holding a referendum. These initiatives must be backed by at least four per cent of the municipality’s residents, and all signatories must be at least 15 years old.
Citizen of the Member States of the European Union can submit European citizens' initiatives. Citizens’ commissions that include at least seven EU citizens living in at least seven different EU Member States may submit a citizens' initiative.
A European citizens' initiative will proceed to processing by the Commission once it is supported by a million people from at least one fourth of the Member States. The signatures must be collected within a one-year period.