President Niinistö marks Constitution’s 100th anniversary

Finland's Parliament Act was introduced by the country's first President in September 1919.

File picture showing exterior of parliament with flowers, spring 2019 / Credit: News Now Finland

President Sauli Niinistö has praised Finland as one of the world’s most stable countries, describing it as “a clear-headed and reliable actor” as he commemorates 100 years of constitutional democracy.

The Constitution Act was brought before parliament in 1919 by Finland’s first President K.J. Ståhlberg who was also one of the key architects of the Act.

“The legislative process to draft the Constitution Act was the touchstone of the young republic. After the civil war, a wide range of options – red and white, monarchist and republican – were voiced, but the objective was common. A united nation which also stood firm in its relations with others” Niinistö told MPs in Parliament on Tuesday afternoon.

Niinistö highlighted provisions in the constitution that nature, biodiversity, the environment and national heritage are everyone’s responsibility; and that high expectations are placed on people in public office to uphold the country’s Constitution which “guarantees the inviolability of human dignity and the freedom and rights of the individual and promotes justice in society” the President said.

President Niinistö also used his speech to stress the importance of social inclusion, and encouraged adults to be role models for children.

“Each and everyone of us can support a young person to become integrated into everyday life” said Niinistö, recognising the role adult mentors played in his own youth.