Election of the President of the Republic 2018

Ministry of Justice 13.12.2017 10.36
Press release
Election of the President of the Republic 2018

In Finland, the President of the Republic is elected by a direct vote. The presidential election may consist of two rounds, if necessary. The first round of the election will be conducted on Sunday 28 January 2018.

If none of the candidates receives more than half of the votes in the first round, a second round will be conducted on Sunday 11 February. This election will be held between the two candidates who received the most votes in the first round. The candidate who receives more votes in the second round is elected President of the Republic. The presidential term is six years.

In the presidential election of 2018, eight candidate applications were submitted to the constituency electoral committee of Helsinki. The constituency electoral committee will conduct a draw to assign candidate numbers to the candidates on 18 December and compile the list of presidential candidates on 21 December. The candidate numbers will be the same in the possible second round.

Every Finnish citizen who has reached the age of 18 no later than on the day of the first election is eligible to vote in the presidential election. The total number of eligible voters is around 4.5 million.

All eligible voters will receive a letter from the Population Register Centre containing two polling cards, i.e. notices of right to vote, in December or January. One of the cards is for the first round and the other one for the possible second round. The polling station at which the voter has to vote if he or she chooses to vote on the election day is stated on the cards. Enclosed is also a list of the advance polling stations in the voter's own electoral district.

Voters must prove their identity

In the presidential election, the voters may vote either on the election day or in advance during the advance voting period. Voters must present a photo ID when voting.

On the election day, voters may vote only at the polling station specified in the polling card. On the election day, the polling stations are open at 9–20.

Advance voting is possible at any of the general advance polling stations in Finland or abroad. The advance voting period in the first round is in Finland from 17 to 23 January.  The advance voting period in the possible second round is in Finland from 31 January to 6 February. Some of the advance polling stations are open only on certain days during the advance voting period.

The advance voting period abroad is in the first round from 17 to 20 January and in the second round from 31 January to 3 February. However, the voting period is shorter than this at several advance polling stations abroad.  

Information on all advance polling stations and their opening hours is available at vaalit.fi. On 19 December, the Ministry of Justice opens a free service number (0800 9 4770) which may be contacted to receive information on the advance polling stations.

People whose ability to move is restricted to the extent that they are unable to go to a polling station without undue difficulty may vote in advance at home. Those who wish to vote in advance at their home must notify the central municipal election board of their municipality of this by 16.00 on 16 January. The informal caregiver of a person entitled to vote at home, living in the same household, may under certain conditions also vote at home.

Information on elections available in more than 20 languages

The Ministry of Justice will, in cooperation with the Finnish Youth Cooperation – Allianssi, send a letter encouraging voting to those around 50,000 young people who may now vote for the first time. A letter of similar type will also be sent to those roughly 20,000 persons who have been granted Finnish citizenship and thus become eligible to vote since the parliamentary elections of 2015.

The elections website of the Ministry of Justice, vaalit.fi, contains information on the presidential election in more than 20 different languages. In addition to Finnish, Swedish, the Saami languages, the Finnish sign language, Karelian and Romani, information is also available in Albanian, Arabic, Chinese, English, Estonian, French, German, Kurdish (Soranî), Persian, Polish, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese.

Furthermore, the YouTube channel of the Ministry of Justice contains videos on voting. Brochures in easy-to-read Finnish and Swedish are also available. Information on the elections is also provided in a format suitable for the visually impaired. Topical information on the election is published on the Twitter and Facebook accounts of vaalit.fi.

Publication of the election results

The aim is to complete the counting of the advance votes by 20.00 on the election day. The preliminary result of the voting on election day should be ready by 22.00.

The constituency electoral committee of Helsinki will confirm the result of the first round on Tuesday 30 January after 10 o’clock. After this, the Ministry of Justice will state whether a second round needs to be conducted. The result of the possible second round will be confirmed by the constituency electoral committee of Helsinki on Wednesday 14 February. The President of the Republic assumes office on the first day of the calendar month following his or her election into office. Thus, the new President’s term of office begins either at the beginning of February or March.

Those who have nominated presidential candidates must file an election funding disclosure with the National Audit Office of Finland within two months from the confirmation of the election result.

Information and results available at vaalit.fi

Information on the advance polling stations and their opening hours is available on the elections website of the Ministry of Justice, vaalit.fi.

Information on the candidates and their candidate numbers will be published on the website on 21 December after 16.00.

During the advance voting period, up-to-date information on the number of advance voters in the entire country, municipalities and electoral districts will be published on the elections website every hour (also during the weekends).

In the evening of the election day of 28 January, starting at 20.00, the number of votes cast in the entire country, electoral districts, municipalities and voting districts will be published as the counting proceeds. During the evening, the results will be updated every five minutes. The results of the preliminary vote count will be published on Monday 29 January also as downloadable files.

The confirmed, final results will be published on the elections website once the recount of votes has been completed on 30 January.

The timetable for the publication of the results is similar for the possible second round.

Inquiries: Arto Jääskeläinen, Director of Electoral Administration, tel. +358 295 50128, Heini Huotarinen, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 2951 50127, email: firstname.lastname@om.fi

The elections website vaalit.fi

Vaalit.fi on Twitter

Vaalit.fi on Facebook

Election videos on YouTube