Number of candidates 2,424 in Parliamentary elections 2023review | Parliamentary elections 2.3.2023
A total of 2,424 candidates were nominated for the 2023 Parliamentary elections, which is 44 fewer than in the previous Parliamentary elections. Of the candidates, 960 are municipal councillors and 170 Members of Parliament in the present Parliament. Twenty-two registered political parties nominated candidates for the Parliamentary elections. Three more parties participate in the elections than in the previous Parliamentary elections.
Statistics Finland has published reviews of Parliamentary election candidates on its web pages since 1995. In the Parliamentary elections 2023, background information on the candidates is presented more extensively for the first time in the database tables in the StatFin database. In this review, persons entitled to vote are examined only in terms of persons entitled to vote living in Finland, unless otherwise indicated.
Most municipal councillors among the Finns Party candidates
Altogether 2,424 candidates were nominated in the elections, which is only slightly fewer than in the 2019 elections. Of all candidates, around 73 per cent have been nominated by the parties elected to the present Parliament (Finnish Social Democratic Party, Finns Party, National Coalition Party, Centre Party of Finland, Green League, Left Alliance, Swedish People's Party in Finland, Christian Democrats in Finland, Movement Now). Of the parties outside the Parliament, most candidates were nominated by Vapauden liitto (Freedom Alliance) (143 candidates) and least by Kansalaisliitto (Citizens' Alliance) (3 candidates). A total of 31 candidates outside any party were nominated in the entire country. The parties that gained seats in Parliament in the 2019 Parliamentary elections are referred to as “parliamentary parties”. This also includes Movement Now, which nominated its candidates through constituency associations in 2019.
Nearly one-third of all candidates were also candidates in the Parliamentary elections 2019. Among the parliamentary parties, the Finnish Social Democratic Party and the Finns Party have most of the same candidates in the elections compared to the previous elections, over 40 per cent. Altogether 170 candidates are current Members of Parliament, being seven per cent of all candidates.
Of all Parliamentary election candidates, 960 are municipal councillors, which is about 40 per cent of all candidates. The proportion of municipal councillors among candidates is highest for the Finns Party, nearly 79 per cent. There are 530 county councillors among the candidates, which is around 22 per cent of all candidates. Of the parties, the Social Democratic Party has the largest proportion of county councillors, 44 per cent of its candidates were in county councils.
Nearly 43 per cent of the candidates are women
A majority of the candidates in the Parliamentary elections have always been men. Women's proportion of the candidates in the Parliamentary elections 2023 is higher than ever before. Of the candidates, 1,385 are men and 1,039 are women. Women's proportion of candidates is thus 42.9 per cent, which is 0.9 percentage points higher than in the 2019 Parliamentary elections.
Of the parliamentary party candidates, the proportion of female candidates is smallest for Movement Now (34.5%) and biggest for the Greens (60.8%). In addition to the Green League, the Social Democratic Party and the Left Alliance have more female than male candidates. Among all parties, the proportion of female candidates is highest in the Feminist Party (84.6%) and lowest in the Citizens’ Alliance (0%). Women make up 47.5 per cent of the candidates of all parliamentary parties. In parties and constituency associations from which no representatives were elected in the 2019 elections, women's proportion of candidates is 30.6 per cent.
The proportion of female candidates grew for around one-half of the parliamentary parties and decreased for one half. The proportion of women increased most in the Social Democratic Party (by nearly seven percentage points) and decreased most in the Swedish People's Party (by over six percentage points).
Women make up 51.8 per cent of all persons entitled to vote and 51.3 per cent of persons entitled to vote living in Finland. Only in the constituency of Oulu the proportion of women is slightly under 50 per cent. The female majority is biggest in the constituency of Helsinki, where 54.2 per cent of the persons entitled to vote are women. The underrepresentation of women among candidates is highest in the constituency of Åland, where women's proportion of candidates is 18 percentage points lower than their share of persons entitled to vote. It should be noted, however, that due to the small number of candidates in Åland the variation between elections has been large in different years. The next biggest differences in the proportions of women candidates and persons entitled to vote can be found in the constituencies of Vaasa (13 percentage points) and Helsinki (12 percentage points). The difference is smallest in the constituencies of Häme (four percentage points) and Lapland (five percentage points). Compared with the previous elections, women's proportion of candidates grew most in the constituencies of Lapland, Satakunta and Häme, by around five percentage points in each.
Candidates are nearly six years younger than persons entitled to vote
The average age of the candidates is 45.8 years and that of persons entitled to vote 51.7 years. The average age of male candidates is 46.8 years and that of female candidates 44.4 years. Female candidates are, on average, 8.5 years younger than women entitled to vote, whereas male candidates are 3.7 years younger than men entitled to vote. Of all candidates, 10.9 per cent are aged under 30 and 14.4 per cent are aged over 60. Among the persons entitled to vote, 16.6 per cent are aged under 30 and 36.6 per cent are aged over 60.
The average age is highest among the Christian Democrat candidates, 52.2 years, and lowest among the Green League candidates, 41.4 years. Of all parties, the Finnish Reform Movement has the oldest candidates (55.4 years) and the Blue-and-Black Movement the youngest (34.6 years). Among the parliamentary parties, the Christian Democrats have in relative terms most candidates aged over 60 (31.9%) and the Swedish People's Party and the Green League have most candidates aged under 30 (17.1% each).
Left Alliance has most foreign-language speaking candidates
Of the persons entitled to vote, 5.2 per cent are Swedish speakers and 3.1 per cent speak other languages than national languages. The number of foreign-language speaking persons entitled to vote has grown from close on 50,000 in the 2011 elections to over 132,000. Of all candidates in the 2023 Parliamentary elections, 90.0 per cent are Finnish or Sami speakers, 6.7 per cent Swedish speakers and 2.8 per cent foreign-language speakers. Nearly 60 per cent of foreign-language speaking candidates are running in the constituencies of Helsinki or Uusimaa. The Left Alliance has the largest share of foreign-language speaking candidates among the parliamentary parties, 7.4 per cent.
Of the candidates, 2.6 per cent are of foreign background and of persons entitled to vote 3.2 per cent. The proportion of persons of foreign origin among the population of Finland is, however, higher, as only Finnish citizens are entitled to vote and eligible to stand as candidates in the Parliamentary elections. Altogether 8.5 per cent of the population living in Finland were of foreign background in 2021, for example. Among the parliamentary parties, the Left Alliance has most candidates of foreign background (7.4% of the party's candidates) and Movement Now, the Finns Party, the Christian Democrats and the Centre Party have least.
Christian Democrat candidates have most children
The candidates also differ from persons entitled to vote as concerns family formation: 35.8 per cent of persons entitled to vote have never had or do not yet have children of their own, while 31.3 per cent of the candidates are childless. Among the parliamentary parties, the Christian Democrats have least candidates without children (17.6%) and the Green League most (41.5%). The differences between the candidates, persons entitled to vote and the candidates of different parties are largely explained by differences in the age structure, especially in the proportion of persons aged under 30. On average, female candidates have 1.8 children and male candidates 1.7 children. Women entitled to vote have 1.6 children and men 1.4, on average. These figures include all biological and adopted children of the person regardless of their age or whether or not they still live with their parents.
Parliamentary election candidates have a high level of education
Of the candidates, 6.7 per cent have no post-comprehensive level qualification, while the share in the 2011 elections was still 10.7 per cent. Correspondingly, the share of candidates with at least Bachelor's degrees has grown from 41.5 per cent in the 2011 elections to 53.5 per cent. Of persons entitled to vote, 25.3 per cent have at least Bachelor’s degrees, and 21.2 per cent have no post-comprehensive level qualification. The difference in the educational level between persons entitled to vote and candidates can partly be explained by the different age structure of persons entitled to vote and candidates.
The candidates of the National Coalition Party have the highest level of education, as over 60 per cent of them have Master's or doctorate degrees. Over one-half of the Swedish People's Party and Green League candidates also have at least Master's degrees. Among the parliamentary parties, the Left Alliance (23.0%), Movement Now (24.3%) and the Finns Party (25.3%) have least candidates with this level of education. Of the candidates of other parties than the parliamentary parties, close on 20 per cent have Master's or doctorate degrees and around 12 per cent have no post-comprehensive level qualification.
Majority of candidates working
The latest statistical data on the population’s main type of activity are from the end of 2021. At that time, slightly over one-half of persons entitled to vote were employed, while over three-quarters of the candidates were employed persons. The number of students is slightly higher among persons entitled to vote and that of unemployed persons slightly lower than among the candidates. Nearly one-third of persons entitled to vote are pensioners, but only around seven per cent of the candidates. The difference is mainly due to the age structure. Of the candidates, around eight per cent are aged 65 or over, while over 30 per cent of the persons entitled to vote have already turned 65.
Among the parliamentary parties, the Social Democratic Party and the National Coalition Party have in relative terms most employed candidates, over 90 per cent, and the Christian Democrats have least, under 80 per cent. Among the parliamentary parties, the Christian Democrats have most pensioner candidates (around 11%).
The median disposable income of the candidates is about EUR 32,400 and that of persons entitled to vote around EUR 23,500. The candidates' disposable income is 38 per cent higher than that of persons entitled to vote. This is largely explained by the candidates' higher level of education and the larger share of employed persons compared with persons entitled to vote. The candidates’ income varies by party from around EUR 51,600 in the Coalition Party to about EUR 30,900 in Movement Now. The candidates of parties outside the Parliament and constituency associations are closest to the voters measured by income with a median income of around EUR 22,300.
When the population entitled to vote is arranged according to the income of 2021 and divided into ten equal parts, the income deciles of the population entitled to vote are generated. Of all candidates, about 31 per cent belonged to the highest income decile. Of the candidates, those representing the National Coalition Party and the Centre Party belong to the higher end of the income distribution. Almost 69 per cent of male candidates and about 58 per cent of female candidates in the National Coalition Party belong to the highest income decile. Among the candidates of the Centre Party, around 59 per cent of men and 40 per cent of women belong to the highest income decile. Of the parliamentary parties, the Left Alliance has least candidates in the highest income decile, around 21 per cent of male candidates and around 18 per cent of female candidates.
Average age of persons entitled to vote and candidates in Parliamentary elections 2023
Persons entitled to vote and candidates by educational level in Parliamentary elections 2023, %
Persons entitled to vote and candidates by main type of activity in Parliamentary elections 2023, %
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