Finland is one of the Nordic countries and a part of Northern Europe. The landscape is dominated by forests and lakes, but there is geographical variety from the unique archipelago of the southern and western coastlines to the rolling mountains and clear-water rivers of Lapland.
Finland and the Finnish way of life have been influenced by the country’s location between East and West. For five centuries Finland was a part of Sweden, then it became a part of Russia and traces of both eras can still be seen today. Finland declared itself independent in 1917 and managed to keep this independence throughout World War ll. Since the war, Finland has pursued a policy of military non-alliance, and this created the basis for the present welfare state. Finland is a democracy in the normal western sense of the word, a parliamentary republic with a multiparty political system. The social structure is typically Nordic resembling particularly that of Sweden.
The most important recent change in Finland’s position in Europe took place at the beginning of 1995, when Finland joined the European Union.
The politics of Finland take place within the framework of a parliamentary representative democracy. Finland is a republic whose head of state is President Sauli Niinistö, who leads the nation’s foreign policy and is the supreme commander of the Finnish Defense Forces. Finland’s head of government is the Prime Minister, who leads the nation’s executive branch, called the Finnish Government. Because the Constitution of Finland vests power to both the President and Government, the President has veto power over parliamentary decisions, although this power can be overruled by a majority vote in the Parliament.