Friday, 15 December, 2017

Centenary of independence declaration observed

05 Dec 2017, 02:01 ( 10 days ago) | updated: 05 Dec 2017, 08:50 ( 9 days ago)

DF REport
Photo Finnish government by Jussi Toivanen.

The government on Monday held a ceremonial session headed by Prime Minister to celebrate the centennial of the declaration of independence of the country, said a government press release.

Precisely one hundred years ago on December 4 the Senate of Finland, in other words the Finnish Government, issued a declaration of independence addressed to the people of Finland.

‘One hundred consecutive years of democratic rule by the people is uncommon in the whole world. This distinguishes Finland from many other nations. Our democratic system stretches from the local level all the way to the highest levels of leadership. While celebrating a century of independence we are also celebrating robust Finnish democracy’, said Prime Minister Juha Sipilä in his government session speech.

‘The example set by the Senate from a century ago binds governments to this day. The Government must be able to make decisions and to bear responsibility for the decisions it makes. It must carry out the work it was elected to do. We must have the courage to move forward, even if the world around us is unstable’, said the Prime Minister.

Descendants of the Independence Senate members of 1917 also attended the historical day in the Government Palace to reminisce. They assembled in a historical place, the Presidential Room, which served as the Senate Assembly Hall one hundred years ago.

The past and present came face to face when the winners of the 100vision project, organised by the Regional Council of Southwest Finland, invited school classes in Finland to draft a new declaration of independence for Finland. The winning text was one written by Antti Rossinen, Rasmus Keinänen, Olli Kaksonen ja Santeri Leinonen, students of the upper secondary class of Kuopio Lyceum High School.

The Independence Senate, i.e. Svinhufvud’s first Senate, was the first-ever Senate of independent Finland. Parliament had already declared its right to exercise supreme authority in Finland on 15 November 1917. On 4 December 1917, the Senate drafted and issued a declaration of independence addressed to the people of Finland, the content of which Prime Minister Svinhufvud presented to Parliament the very same day. Parliament approved the Senate’s actions for declaring independence on 6 December 1917. Later, in 1919, it was decided that Independence Day would be celebrated every year on 6 December.

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