Swedish People’s Party of Finland (SFP/RKP). The SFP is a party that has existed since 1906 with a single goal: to protect the rights and freedoms of the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland.
Ideologically, the SFP is a broadly liberal party, reflecting the affluent middle class lives of most Swedish speakers in Finland, though its base is very diverse as Swedish-speakers are obviously not totally homogenous.
The SFP is almost always included in Finnish cabinets so as to represent Swedish speakers around the cabinet table. The SFP has been in every Finnish government since 1979. However this has left the SFP looking as if will enter any government. The SFP’s continuation in government after the government made Swedish a voluntary subject at high school has led the SFP to be accused of even being willing to sell out on its single issue. The party was polling extremely poorly in the run-up to the 2011 election but regained some support off the back of Swedish-speaking fears of the Finns Party, who oppose a lot of the generous bilingualism afforded to Swedish-speakers.
The SFP’s vote is in long-term decline due to the shrinking number of Swedish-speakers in Finland. From a height of 13.5% in 1910, it reached 7.9% in 1945 and now stands at just 4.3%, only slightly higher than its 1979 low of 4.2%. The party has recently attempted to accentuate the liberal portions of its ideology so as to attract non-Swedish speakers to the party’s programme.
The party is currently represented in the six party governing coalition, where it holds the Justice and Defence ministries.
The SFP is a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. It is more loyal to ALDE than KESK, voting with the group 94.8% of the time. The party is in danger of losing its single MEP due to poor polling. If it is saved it will probably be by high turnout amongst the Swedish-speaking population, fearful of a Finns Party victory.