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Aland

Yearbook 2012

Aland. In the Finnish presidential elections in January, the Swedish-speaking Ålanders voted across with the country at large.

Swedish People's Party candidate Eva Biaudet got close to 40% in Åland, compared to 2.7 in Finland. Social Democrats Paavo Lipponen, who defended the position of the Swedish language in Finland, received 24.7% of the votes of the Ålanders but only 6.7% in the entire country. The winner of the presidential election, the Sauli Niinistö Collection Party, received 37% of all Finns' votes but 21.7% of the Ålanders.

In March, the Lagting debated the issue of Finnish place names on the Survey of Finland's maps of Åland. The provincial government demanded that they be removed, so that the maps were only Swedish-speaking just like the landscape. The work said no and was then notified to JO for the use of Finnish names such as Ahvenanmaa (Åland) and Maarianhamina (Mariehamn) alongside the Swedish.

The City of Mariehamn discussed during the year to abandon the free bus service it has had for twelve years. The annual number of passengers had increased from 96,000 at the time of the charge to almost 290,000. The free bus service cost € 800,000 in 2011.

In November, the provincial government presented a budget with a deficit of close to EUR 6 million, just over SEK 50 million. The governing bodies proposed cuts mainly in health care but also in archipelago traffic.

At the beginning of the year, it was found that in the past year, Åland had the largest net move-in in almost four decades. Of the 950 people who moved in, almost half came from Sweden. At year-end, the number of residents in Åland was 28,355.

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