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Number 10 (1/2003)


Party Manifesto Database

Tuomas J. Alaterä | Matti Heinonen    28.2.2003

Prior to the 2003 parliamentary elections FSD created a new database holding political parties' election manifestos and policy programs. The result is a web site Vaalimaatti where one can get acquainted with the manifestos and make word searches. The URL for Vaalimaatti is https://www.fsd.tuni.fi/vaalimaatti/vaalit2003/.

When choosing whom to vote voters should remember that MPs only rarely can vote according to their own conscience. In many issues the parliamentary group defines the coherent party line and expects all the MPs in the group to vote in accordance with it. This is called group discipline. Naturally, the principles and goals stated in party manifestos and policy programs influence party line decisions.

The database Vaalimaatti allows voters to read up on policies and manifestos of various parties, both in Finnish and Swedish (if available). Parties have committed themselves to the goals and ideological basis presented in them. These principles have a strong influence on the activities of parliamentary groups and parliamentary decision-making. Vaalimaatti is not a candidate selector, since it does not contain information about individual candidates.

Vaalimaatti database is a pilot project, aiming to become a larger web resource of political party policy texts. The working title of the larger project is Aatemaatti. We aim to gather policy texts from the very beginning of Finnish party politics at the end of 19th century to this day. All material will be made available on the web. Jyväskylä University has already started on the digitalization of the material. However, the ongoing work will require resources and a permanent maintenance infrastructure.

Partiveven, an extensive database of the NSD (Norwegian Social Science Data Services), has offered a similar service for years. Partiveven has established itself as one of Norway's most important information and research resources. This is our goal for Aatemaatti in Finland.

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