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FSD1189 Survey of Departing Local Councillors 1997

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Authors

  • Pikkala, Sari (Åbo Akademi University. Institute for Comparative Nordic Politics and Administration)

Keywords

councillors, local government, local politics, municipal councils, municipal government, political representation

Abstract

The survey was targeted to municipal councillors in Finland who stood down at the 1996 local elections. The main objective was to study their reasons for not standing as a candidate for the council.

Respondents were asked whether they held elective offices in their political party or in local government, regional or central government. The total length of time respondents had held offices in local/regional/central government was charted. Respondents were asked whether they aimed to give up other elective offices, in addition to standing down as councillors. Participation in municipal council meetings and anticipatory group meetings were surveyed. Support for council participation received from spouses, family members, employers, colleagues, trade union, friends and the party was evaluated. Views were probed on the municipality's attitude towards local politics. Perceived conflicts between home life, employment, leisure, other elective offices, and council membership were investigated.

The survey carried a set of reasons for standing down at the election, and asked respondents to rate the importance of each reason in their decision to depart the council. Personal reasons stated included age, long experience as councillor, health problems, difficulty to fit in council duties with the burdens of home life and work, lack of knowledge, time demands of acting as a councillor, inadequacy of financial compensation, change in personal circumstances. Reasons connected to the municipal organisation included lack of influence, problems with the balance of power between administrators and council, and public attitude towards local politicians. Reasons connected to party politics included lack of personal influence in the party, lack of support from the party, disagreement with party line, conflict within or between party groups in the council, lack of influence of the party.

Background variables included the respondent's year of birth, sex, mother tongue, marital status, number of under-age children, length of residence in the municipality, education, employment status, employer type, party membership and length of membership.

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