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Finnish Court annuls 2023 Saami elections

The Supreme Administrative Court of Finland decided that the vote must be considered invalid due to a significant amount of individuals omitted from the election list.

Saami Parliament in Finland (Source: Wikipedia).

According to the court, 72 people were omitted from the election list, which likely affected the election result. The court has ordered the excluded people to be included in a new list that the Saami Parliamentary Election Board will confirm that is based on the list of spring 2023. Members and deputy members of the Saami legislative body that were elected in the now annulled elections will remain in their positions until new elections are held.

‘We will study the decisions of the Supreme Administrative Court carefully. Until the new elections, it is important to ensure that the daily activities of the Sámi Assembly can continue as normal,’ Pirita Näkkäläjärvi, chair of the Saami Assembly in Finland stated. ‘Children and young people need learning materials. Cultural associations and cultural workers need support. All Saami traditional livelihoods need to be strengthened. This work must not be disturbed for any reason’, she adds.

Näkkäläjärvi hopes that the handling of the new Saami Parliament Act proceeds in the Finnish Parliament as planned because amending the law can fix the situation. The current law is outdated and, it has caused many conflicting interpretations and had led to the current unclear situation. ‘Reforming the Saami Parliament Act can bring a solution to this long-term dispute concerning the Saami right to self-determination’, Näkkäläjärvi says.