1919 Finnish parliamentary election

← 1917 1–3 March 1919 1922 →

All 200 seats in the Parliament of Finland
101 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
Väinö Tanner in 1931 (cropped).jpg
Santeri Alkio2.jpg
HugoSuolahti (cropped).jpg
Leader Väinö Tanner Santeri Alkio Hugo Suolahti
Party SDP Agrarian National Coalition
Last election 44.79%, 92 seats 12.38%, 26 seats
Seats won 80 42 26
Seat change Decrease 12 Increase 16 New
Popular vote 365,046 189,297 151,018
Percentage 37.98% 19.70% 15.71%
Swing Decrease 6.81pp Increase 7.32pp New

  Fourth party Fifth party
Oskari Mantere circa 1925.jpg
Leader Oskari Mantere Eric von Rettig
Party National Progressive RKP
Last election 10.90%, 21 seats
Seats won 26 22
Seat change new Increase 1
Popular vote 123,090 116,582
Percentage 12.81% 12.13%
Swing new Increase 1.23pp

Prime Minister before election

Lauri Ingman
National Coalition

Prime Minister after election

Kaarlo Castrén
National Progressive

Ballot paper
Ballot paper

Parliamentary elections were held in Finland between 1 and 3 March 1919.[1] The Social Democratic Party emerged as the largest in Parliament with 80 of the 200 seats. Voter turnout was 67.1%.[2]


In 1919, Finland was still reeling from the violent and traumatic effects of its Civil War. Many Whites (rightists and centrists) felt that a strong national government was necessary to prevent a new civil war. Some conservatives, especially monarchists, even wondered if Finland should keep its democratic and universal right to vote (for example Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, in the White Army's victory parade in Helsinki in May 1918, he called for the giving of Finland's leadership to a strong leader, free from partisan wrangling).

Liberals, such as the first President Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg, believed that discontent with Finland's political, social and economic order would be removed by making reforms. Monarchists had elected Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse (a state of Germany) as the Finnish King in October 1918, but he had renounced the throne in December 1918, conscious of the problems that Finland would have in its relations with the United Kingdom and the United States if it had a citizen of the defeated Germany as its king. The parties that favoured a republic (Social Democrats, Agrarians and Progressives) disagreed on how much power the head of state (President) should have. The monarchist parties (National Coalitioners and Swedish People's Party) favoured a strong presidency if there was going to be a republic at all.

In the end, enough Finnish voters sided with the pro-republic parties that also promised significant social reforms, such as the freeing of tenant farmers and the distribution of excess farmland to them.[3][4][5]


1919 Eduskunta.svg
Social Democratic Party365,04637.9880–12
Agrarian League189,29719.7042+16
National Coalition Party151,01815.7128New
National Progressive Party123,09012.8126New
Swedish People's Party116,58212.1322+1
Christian Workers' Union14,7181.532+2
Valid votes961,10199.51
Invalid/blank votes4,7710.49
Total votes965,872100.00
Registered voters/turnout1,438,70967.13
Source: Nohlen & Stöver

See also


  1. ^ Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p606 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p613
  3. ^ Seppo Zetterberg et al., eds., A Small Giant of Finnish History, Helsinki: WSOY, 2003, pages 610-612
  4. ^ Pentti Virrankoski, A History of Finland 1&2, Helsinki: Finnish Literary Society, 2009, pages 756-758, 766-767
  5. ^ Jonathan Clements, Mannerheim: President, Soldier, Spy, London, UK: Haus Publishing Ltd, 2009