- Preface and Acknowledgements
- List of Figures
- List of Maps
- List of Tables
- List of Text Boxes
- List of Contributors
- Introduction: Subnational Democracy in Europe: Changing Backgrounds and Theoretical Models
- The United Kingdom: Is there Really an Anglo Model?
- Ireland: Halting Steps Towards Local Democracy
- Belgium: A Tale of Regional Divergence?
- The Netherlands: Subnational Democracy and the Reinvention of Tradition
- Luxembourg: The Challenge of Inclusive Democracy in a ‘Local State’
- Germany: Varieties of Democracy in a Federal System
- Austria: From Consensus to Competition and Participation?
- Switzerland: Subsidiarity, Power‐Sharing, and Direct Democracy
- Denmark: Between Local Democracy and Implementing Agency of the Welfare State
- Finland: The Limits of the Unitary Decentralized Model
- Sweden: Party‐dominated Subnational Democracy Under Challenge?
- Norway: The Decline of Subnational Democracy?
- France: Between Centralization and Fragmentation
- Italy: The Subnational Dimension to Strengthening Democracy Since the 1990s
- Spain: The Consolidation of Strong Regional Governments and the Limits of Local Decentralization
- Portugal: Local Democracy in a Small Centralized Republic
- Greece: A Case of Fragmented Centralism and ‘Behind the Scenes’ Localism
- Malta: Local Government: A Slowly Maturing Process
- Cyprus: Political Modernity and the Structures of Democracy in a Divided Island
- Poland: Europeanization of Subnational Governments
- The Czech Republic: Local Government in the Years after the Reform
- Hungary: Remarkable Successes and Costly Failures: An Evaluation of Subnational Democracy
- Slovakia: Local Government: Establishing Democracy at the Grassroots
- Estonia: Challenges and Lessons of the Development of Local Autonomy
- Latvia: Experiments and Reforms in Decentralization
- Lithuania: Brave Enough to Implement Daring Democratic Reforms?
- Slovenia in Transition: Decentralization as a Goal
- Bulgaria: The Dawn of a New Era of Inclusive Subnational Democracy?
- Romania: From Historical Regions to Local Decentralization via the Unitary State
- European Subnational Democracy: Comparative Reflections and Conclusions
- Structure of Subnational Governments in Europe, 2007
- Subnational finances in Europe
- Trust, importance of local/regional government, and levels of corruption in Europe
- Subject Index
- Name Index
Abstract and Keywords
After more than seven centuries as a part of Sweden and one century as an autonomous grand duchy of Russia, Finland gained its independence in 1917. The long period of Swedish rule undoubtedly influenced the Finnish legal and social system. Conquered by Russia in 1808, Finland was ruled by the Czar of Russia under old Swedish constitutional laws. Two years after gaining independence from the weakened Russia, Finland enacted its first own Constitution Act. This Constitution Act of 1919 retained the leading principles of the 1906 Parliamentary Act. It was a compromised between republican and monarchist ideals. Following the two wars against the Soviet Union and the period of urbanization and industrialization, Finnish welfare state and administrative institutions underwent a transformation. These developmental processes were similar to that of Nordic countries however lagging slightly behind. Finland' societal development allowed for an improvement in social conditions and Finland's administrative development allowed for the gradual transfer of responsibility for the production of welfare state services from the state administration to the municipalities. This article focuses on Finland and the limits of its unitary decentralized model of governance. It also discusses several challenges faced by the Finnish subnational democracy and the local government. These challenges were partly due to the limitations of the unitary decentralized model, characterized by a large number of small municipalities, lack of an all-purpose organization and representative bodies at the regional level, and regional cleavages.
Stefan Sjöblom is Professor of Local Administration at the Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki, Finland.
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