Politics of Åland

Coat of arms of Åland.svg
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Politics of the Åland Islands takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic autonomous, demilitarised and unilingually Swedish territory of Finland, whereby the Lantråd is the head of government, and of a multi-party system.

The Åland Islands are governed according to the Act on Åland Autonomy and international treaties, which guarantees autonomy and demilitarized status. The Government of Åland, or Landskapsregering, is dependent on the Parliament of Åland, or Lagting, according to the principles of parliamentarism.

In 1634, Åland was made part of the Åbo and Björneborg County as a part of the grand administrative reforms initiated by count Axel Oxenstierna. The county became part of the Russian Empire within the Grand Duchy of Finland in 1809, when Sweden was forced to cede vast areas in the Napoleonic Wars. When Finland declared its independence in 1917, the newly established state inherited the Åland islands.

During the Civil War in 1918, some Russian troops were still stationed on the islands, causing serious instability and nervousness. This anxiety in the local population, and in the other Scandinavian states, resulted in a Swedish occupation and 7,135 people (of a total population of approximately 22,500 at the time) signing the address for Åland joining the kingdom of Sweden. The fear of Russia finally resulted in a German occupation of the islands. In the mean time, the Finnish press was playing with the idea of an exchange of land areas between Sweden and Finland. The areas in question of this exchange would have been the Swedish speaking Åland to Sweden and some Finnish speaking areas of Norrbotten and Västerbotten to Finland. The response from the Swedish government was bluntly negative to any exchanges of this nature.

In 1921 the question of Åland was brought to the council of League of Nations. The council decided unanimously, that the islands would remain under Finland's sovereignty, but stated that the native population's rights to their own language had to be preserved, that the area had to stay demilitarized and that Åland was granted autonomy during peacetime.[1]

Åland has its own national flag, has issued its own postage stamps since 1984, has its own police force, and is a member of the Nordic Council. The islands are demilitarised, and the male population is exempted from conscription. Parliamentarism has been the custom since 1988. The Åland autonomy preceded the creation of the Regions of Finland, but the autonomous government of Åland also handles what the regional councils do.

The Åland Islands during the Crimean War.

The sovereignty over Åland belongs to Finland, and Åland is thus not independent. The Åland Islands are guaranteed representation in the Finnish parliament, and elect one representative.

Executive branch

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
Lantråd Katrin Sjögren Lib 2015
Other Government parties MSÅ, ÅS

In addition to Åland's own government, the Government of Åland (Ålands Landskapsregering), there is also a State Department of Åland (Statens ämbetsverk på Åland), headed by the Governor, Peter Lindbäck, and which is a department of the Government of Finland concerned with its functions in the islands.

Legislative branch

The Parliament of Åland (Lagtinget, which means Law Thing) has 30 members, elected for a four-year term by proportional representation.

Political parties and elections

e • d Summary of the 16 October 2011 Parliament of Åland election results
Parties Votes % Seats
2011 +/– 2011 +/– 2011 +/–
Åland Centre (Ålands Center) 3,068 –39 23.0 –1.2 7 –1
Liberals for Åland (Liberalerna på Åland) 2,630 –1,546 19.7 –12.9 6 –4
Åland Social Democrats (Ålands Socialdemokrater) 2,404 +891 18.0 +6.2 6 +3
Moderates of Åland (Moderaterna på Åland) 1,810 +577 13.5 +3.9 4 +1
Non-aligned Coalition (Obunden Samling) 1,639 +66 12.3 ±0.0 4 ±0
Future of Åland (Ålands Framtid) 1,286 +216 9.6 +1.3 3 +1
Election Association for Henrik Appelqvist (Valmansförening för Henrik Appelqvist) 138 1.0 0
Total (turnout 66.9%) 13,360 100.0 30 ±0
Sources: JCI Mariehamn[dead link]

Local government

See also


External links

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