Republikens president Sauli Niinistös tal i paneldebatten vid det virtuella toppmötet om demokrati den 29 mars 2023

Talet hölls på engelska

Mr. President Chaves, Excellencies,

I want to start by saying that a lot has happened since the first Summit for Democracy. 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.

In democracy, people have the right to participate in and influence the development of society and their living conditions. This right belongs to all individuals.

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.

Finland’s commitment to promote and defend democracy, human rights, and the rule of law is enshrined in the Constitution and implemented through various acts and policies.

Still, inclusion does not always happen in practice. We are further committed to strengthening democracy, local governance and citizen participation in political decision-making.

In the Summit for Democracy in December 2021, we renewed our commitment to promote and defend inclusion and gender equality in our international cooperation.

We also promised to implement our own National Democracy Program 2025. As part of the program, we have adopted a Government Resolution on 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.

Democracy delivers when everyone can and will contribute. Our next test is already on Sunday this week, when the people of Finland elect a new parliament.

Thank you.