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FSD1206 Finnish Local Government 2004: Municipal Elections 1996

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Authors

  • Ståhlberg, Krister (Åbo Akademi University. Department of Public Administration)
  • Pikkala, Sari (Åbo Akademi University. Department of Public Administration)
  • Kuitunen, Soile (University of Turku. Department of Political Science)

Keywords

citizenship, councillors, elected officials, elections, local government, local government elections, local government services, political power, politics, public services, women's role

Abstract

The survey studied municipal election candidates, their motivation, views on the role and tasks of councillors and views on municipal services. Party membership and elected offices held by the candidate were charted. The respondents were asked who their supporters were and what the supporters' impact on their decision to become a candidate had been. The respondents evaluated how the party or the constituency association had acted in the nomination process. Willingness to be a candidate of some other party was surveyed.

The importance of various characteristics in council work (e.g. co-operation or language skills, long experience in politics) was rated. The respondents were asked to what degree they accepted fellow councillors who never speak out or whose actions are contrary to their publicly stated aims etc. They were also asked to what extent they agreed with a number of statements relating to councillors' duties and tasks and municipal decision-making. The degree to which the respondents represented particular groups was investigated. In addition, the respondents evaluated how important different traits and ways of acting were in good citizenship: paying taxes honestly, obeying the law, sacrificing personal interest for the common good, respecting public property etc.

The survey carried a set of attitudinal questions pertaining to the role of women in politics. Views were also probed on how well municipal services functioned and whether the municipality should invest more or less in a particular service. The questions covered social services, health services, education and cultural services and municipal technical services. The respondents rated the importance of various actions and decisions in developing public services (user fees, quality management, services purchased from other municipalities, etc.). They also evaluated how effectively they themselves were able to influence decision-making.

Background variables included the respondent's sex, year of birth, marital status, mother tongue, education, number of children under the age of 18, employer sector, employment status, and political affiliation.

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