Centre Party (C)

Centre Party (C). The Centre Party is Sweden’s primary representative of the Nordic tradition of agrarian parties. Emerging from farmers’ movements in the late 19th century, Agrarian parties came to be a powerful feature of the Nordic party system due to their ‘hinge’ position at the centre of the political spectrum. Such parties combine support for small businesses, decentralisation of power, environmentalism and Euroscepticism. Such parties typically range widely in their social views. C was historically very conservative in some regards – being the Swedish party most friendly to the Nazi German government besides the actual Swedish Nazis for instance. Yet the party is now fairly socially liberal, backing same-sex marriage in 2009 (though one Centre Party member did vote in opposition). Yet as rural life has decline, Centre parties have seen their base decline as well and they have had to find new bases of support. In recent years the Swedish Centre Party has largely sought to expand its base by moving towards classical liberalism, cultivating a younger, self-employed, and vaguely environmentalist vote. The party successfully managed to expand its base in 2006, due to these moves, and saw itself become the second largest Alliance member. However the party has lost significant support in government, as the Moderates eclipse its identity. Its former leader, Maud Oloffson, faces questions over the purchase of Nuon, a Dutch energy company, by Vattenfall, the the Swedish state power company. Nuon has seen its value collapse since the purchase. The party’s new leader, the 30 year old Annie Loof, has been caught in an expenses scandal, using Swedish public funds for restaurant visits and banquets for her staff. This has further damaged the party and it now falls below the 4% threshold for representation in many polls. The party has historically been Eurosceptic. In recent years it has become more open to the EU, but it still opposes entry into the Euro and further integration. The Centre Party is a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. The party maintains low loyalty to the ALDE group, voting alongside it 92.2% of the time.

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