Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Centre Party (Finland)
The Centre Party (Finnish: Suomen Keskusta) is a centrist political party in Finland. It is one of the three largest political parties in the country, along with the Social Democrats (SDP) and the Coalition Party. Currently the Centre Party has the most seats, 55 out of 200, in the Finnish Parliament.
The party is a member of Liberal International and the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party and subscribed to the liberal manifestos of these organisations. Its members in the European Parliament are member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.
However, it can be disputed whether it takes the position of a liberal party in the Finnish spectrum, as it is among the most conservative in many issues especially by the veteran politicians, as well as the most pro-CAP party being the old agrarian party. According to its proponents, the party might still evolve into a undisputable liberal party, but the party most outspoken explicitly about liberalism is still the Swedish People's Party, whereas the conservative Coalition Party hosts also proponents of the free market. Additionally, the Green League is among the most liberal groups, as far as social liberalism is considered.
The party was founded in 1908 by Santeri Alkio and was then known as the Agrarian Party or Maalaisliitto. Nowadays the farmers have only a small portion of 5% of the votes given to the party and the Centre Party has the widest range in support when it comes to the professions. However, even today rural Finland and small towns are the strongest support area for the Centre Party, although it has been aiming toward a breakthrough in the big southern cities as well. The current Prime Minister of Finland is Matti Vanhanen, who succeeded Anneli Jäätteenmäki.
Although the party has an ideological background in the 19th century fennoman movement, the party is rather the direct continuation of the Estate of the Peasantry in the pre-1906 diets (see: the Riksdag of the Estates).
Prominent party leaders
- Lauri Kristian Relander, President 1925-1931
- Kyösti Kallio, Prime Minister four times 1922-1937, President 1937-1940
- Urho Kekkonen, Prime Minister twice 1950-1956, President 1956-1981
- Martti Miettunen, Prime Minister twice 1961-1977
- Ahti Karjalainen , Prime Minister
Party Chairmen since 1945
- Viljami Kalliokoski 1941-1945
- Väinö Johannes Sukselainen 1946-1964
- Johannes Virolainen 1965-1980 - Prime Minister, Speaker of Parliament
- Paavo Väyrynen 1980-1990 - Foreign Minister, Member of the European parliament
- Esko Aho 1990-2000, 2001-2002 - Prime Minister 1991-1995
- Anneli Jäätteenmäki 2000-2001, 2002-2003 - Speaker of Parliament, Prime Minister 2003
- Matti Vanhanen 2003 - Prime Minister
- Contributions to liberal theory
- Liberalism worldwide
- List of liberal parties
- Liberal democracy
- Liberalism and centrism in Finland
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