President Niinistö at the Summit for Democracy: We must make sure that all have meaningful ways to participate

On Wednesday, 29 March 2023, President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö participated in the virtual Summit for Democracy, organised for the second time. The summit was co-hosted by President Joe Biden of the United States together with President Rodrigo Chaves Robles of Costa Rica, President Hakainde Hichilema of Republic of Zambia, Presidentti Yoon Suk Yeol of the Republic of Korea and Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands.

In a plenary discussion, President Niinistö said that state leaders now meet under very different circumstances than in 2021, when the summit was held for the first time. “For more than a year, Russia has been waging an illegal war on Ukraine. Our support is needed, we must not lose sight of that.”

The President said that Finland’s democracy is built on a stable representative political system with equality at its core. “Finland was among the first countries to grant women the right to vote and stand in elections, more than a hundred years ago.”

Even though Finland’s commitment to defend democracy, human rights and the rule of law has been enshrined in the Finnish constitution, according to the President, we still need to promote how equal participation is realised in practice.  Finland has prepared, for example, the National Democracy Programme and, as part of the programme, adopted the Government resolution on the democracy policy.

“The resolution will help strengthen particularly the inclusion of vulnerable persons into political life. For example youth, elderly, minorities, disabled and homeless persons are often in vulnerable situations when it comes to participation in decision-making. We must make sure that all have meaningful ways to participate,” the President said.

In his statement, President Niinistö also referred to Finland’s forthcoming parliamentary elections, where the Finnish democracy is being tested the next time.

The summit was attended by representatives from over a hundred states. The themes of the summit include defending democracy, strengthening human rights and the challenges to democracy.


The President of the Republic of Finland's video statement to the Summit for Democracy