This month the Sami people of Finland are electing their parliament.
The Sámi Parliament of Finland is the representative body for people of Sámi heritage in Finland. The parliament consists of 21 elected mandates. The current president is Tiina Sanila-Aikio, the first vice-president is Heikki Paltto and the second vice president is Tuomas Aslak Juuso.
Some of the responsibilities of the Finnish Sámi Parliament include matters related to the languages and culture of the Sámi, and also their status as an indigenous people. The Finnish Sámi Parliament decides on the distribution of the funds it receives that are earmarked for use by the Sámi. It can also sponsor bills and release statements on matters that fall under its jurisdiction.
The Finnish Sámi Parliament is a separate branch of the Ministry of Justice and is an independent legal body subject to public law with its own governing body, accountants as well as auditors.
The parliament has working groups for: education and education materiel, Sámi livelihood and rights, culture, social issues and health, election, and Sámi language.
The Finnish Sámi Parliament has 21 representatives and 4 deputy representatives who are elected every 4 years from the Sámi Domicile Area. Each of the municipalities in the Sámi Domicile Area (Enontekiö, Utsjoki, Inari and Sodankylä) has thus at least 3 representatives and 1 deputy representative each.
Under the Section 3 of the Act on the Sámi Parliament a person is eligible for voting if they consider themselves as a Sámi, and:
Postal voting ends on September 30.
Sources and further reading:
Finnish Sami parliament election starts amid tense disagreements
Parliamentary Elections, 14 September 2009