When even the prime minister sits on the municipal council. Analysing the value of ‘localness’ and Finnish MPs’ incentives to ‘cumulate’ in an open-list voting system

David Arter, Peter Söderlund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This article addresses a curiously neglected question, namely why do the vast majority of Finnish MPs—one of the highest levels in the world—hold a seat on the municipal council? The basic presumption is that Finnish parliamentarians are not first and foremost ‘office-seekers’; they do not seek municipal council office as a primary goal. Rather, they view municipal elections as a means of attaining localness, either as a personal vote-earning attribute (PVEA) or then as a representational attribute, bolstering their credentials as ‘local MP’ for the municipality. To test this reasoning, the analysis focuses on MPs’ decisions on whether to contest the four municipal elections between 2008 and 2021 (n = 796). The results show that the incentive to ‘cumulate’ is greatest for first-term legislators and those occupying marginal list positions at the previous general election, but that the incidence of dual mandate-holding does not rise systematically with the size of the municipality whilst national celebrity trumps localness as the primary vote-earning attribute. The evidence is also consonant with the view that dual mandate-holding is as much a representational merit as an electoral imperative.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79–100
JournalACTA POLITICA
Volume58
Issue number1
Early online date2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Cumul des mandats
  • Finland
  • Intraparty incumbency defeats
  • Localness
  • Open-list voting
  • Personal vote

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations

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