Swedish People's Party (Finland): Wikis

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Swedish Peoples' Party
Finnish name Ruotsalainen kansanpuolue
Swedish name Svenska folkpartiet
Leader Stefan Wallin
President Henrik Lax
Founded 1906
Headquarters Simonsgatan 8 A
00100 Helsingfors (Helsinki), Finland
Ideology Liberalism,
Swedish minority politics
Political position Centre
International affiliation Liberal International
European affiliation European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party
European Parliament Group Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
Official colours Red, Yellow
Parliament:
European Parliament:
Website
http://www.sfp.fi/
Politics of Finland
Political parties
Elections

The Swedish Peoples' Party (Swedish: Svenska folkpartiet (SFP); Finnish: Ruotsalainen kansanpuolue (RKP)) is a Swedish-speaking minority and mainly liberal party in Finland. The party is a member of Liberal International and the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party.

Contents

History and electorate

The Swedish Party, a parliamentary elite party based on Diet of Finland members, is the historical predecessors of the Swedish People's Party. Axel Lille and Axel Olof Freudenthal are often considered as some of the main "founding fathers" of the movement. Also, most of the membership of the Liberal Party joined the Swedish Party after the Liberals ceased to exist as a distinct party. The Swedish People's Party was founded in the 1906 party congress of the Swedish Party, making it one of the oldest parties in Finland. The first leader of SFP was Axel Lille. The current leader of the party is Stefan Wallin. In the Parliament of Finland the representative for Åland is usually included in SFP's parliamentary group, regardless of his/her party affiliation. (The political parties in Åland have no counterparts in Mainland Finland, but the SFP's interests have much in common with those of Åland as far as the Swedish language is concerned.)

The party receives its main electoral support from the Swedish speaking minority, which makes up about 5.5%[1] of Finland's population. During its history, the party has suffered slow but steady decline in adherence, following the decline of the percentage of Swedish-speaking population: in 1907 it got 12% of national votes, after World War II 7% and in the 2003/2007 parliamentary elections 4.5% (8 MPs in 2003, 9 MPs in 2007).

Despite its position as one of the minor political parties in the Finnish parliament it has frequently been one of the partners forming the governing coalition cabinets. Since 1956, the year when Urho Kekkonen was elected President, the party has been nearly continuously in the government. It has been part of all coalitions with the significant exception of Paasio's first government (1966–68), which included only socialists (SDP, the split SDP faction TPSL and SKDL) and the Centre Party. Short periods of rule by single-party minority governments, Miettunen government (1961–62, Centre) and Paasio's second government (1972, SDP) and of nonpartisan caretaker governments have also interrupted its stay in the government. For this reason, SFP is often criticized for being a single-issue party that allegedly accepts nearly all policies as long as its own vital interest, the status of the Swedish language is maintained. Interestingly, although Vanhanen's first government made Swedish a voluntary subject in the secondary school matriculation exam, SFP remained in the government. In contrast, the Greens left the previous government after its decision to build a new nuclear power plant in 2002.

Recently the SFP has emphasized the liberal part of its programme.

Political positions

The Swedish language is one of the two official languages of Finland. The SFP has as its main raison d'être the protection and strengthening of the position of Swedish of Finland.

The Swedish People's Party has the most eclectic profile of any of the political parties in Finland, its members and supporters including (chiefly):

  • fishermen and farmers from the Swedish-speaking coastal areas.
  • small-town dwellers from the adjacent Swedish-speaking and bi-lingual towns.
  • green-minded and left-leaning middle-class intellectuals.
  • liberals in general, who currently have no representation of their own in the Finnish parliament, and who as such benefit from the predominantly liberal values of the SFP.

Although the SFP represents a small minority of Finland, Swedish mother tongue per se is not much of a political handicap. Several times Swedish speaking presidential candidates have gathered considerable support, although not necessarily as candidates for the Swedish People's Party:

List of party leaders

The current party leader Stefan Wallin.

See also

1960 municipal elections poster

External links

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