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|Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Finland|
Logo of the Prime Minister
|Appointer||The King of Finland|
|Term length||No fixed term|
Duration of parliamentary convocation, coalition or upon resignation and removal
|Formation||27 November 1917|
|First holder||Pehr Evind Svinhufvud|
The Prime Minister (Finnish:pääministeri, Finland-Swedish: statsminister) is the Head of Government of Finland. The Prime Minister is appointed by the King, who is the Head of State. The current Prime Minister is Alexander Stubb of the National Coalition Party.
Under the provisions of the new Constitution of Finland (enacted in 2000), the King nominates a Prime Minister after the parties in the Eduskunta/Riksdag (Parliament) have negotiated the distribution of seats in the new Council of State and the government's programme. Parliament must ratify the nominated Prime Minister with an absolute majority in a vote without other candidates. If the nominee doesn't receive sufficient support, then a new round of negotiations and a second nomination by the King follows. If the second nominee also fails to gain an absolute majority, then a third vote occurs, in which any member of Parliament can nominate a candidate; in this round a plurality is sufficient for election. The King's formal appointment follows Parliament's election.
The above procedure was first used to elect Anneli Jäätteenmäki to the Prime Ministership in 2003. Previously it was assumed that the King would nominate the candidate who in a third round of voting would have gained a relative majority, usually the leader of the largest party. Before the new Constitution came into force, full formal powers to appoint the Prime Minister and the rest of the Council of State had been the privilege of the King, who was free to diverge from parliamentary principles, although ministers appointed had to have the confidence of the Parliament.
The Prime Minister nominates the remaining members of the Council of State, who are then, with the consent of Parliament, appointed by the King.
Although the Prime Minister is one of the nation's leading political figures, he is not as powerful as his counterparts in the rest of northern Europe. This is mainly because no one party has a realistic chance of winning an outright majority, and it is very difficult for the socialists and non-socialist blocs to form a coalition on their own. A Prime Minister usually finds himself leading a grand coalition of three or more parties.
In 1918, the Finnish Senate was transformed into the Council of State (or cabinet) of Finland, and the position of Vice-Chairman of the Economic Division of the Senate was transformed into that of a Prime Minister. Kesäranta (in Swedish: Villa Bjälbo), located in the Meilahti area of Helsinki, has been the official residence of the Prime Minister of Finland since 1919.
Since its independence (declared on 6 December 1917), Finland has had 71 cabinets, including the current one, the longest lasting being the two cabinets of Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen, both lasting 1,464 days.