In 1899, the Labour Party of Finland (Suomen Työväenpuolue) was founded. Four years later it became the Social Democratic Party of Finland (Suomen Sosialidemokraattinen Puolue — SDP). Its policy, inspired by the Erfurt Program (1891)1, was committed to freedom of the press and association, compulsory education, gender equality, an eight-hour working day and the introduction of universal suffrage. The SDP is the youngest Scandinavian socialist party. Its foundation occurred in a context marked by two major policy issues: the struggle for national independence and the reform movement in favor of parliamentary democracy (Alapuro, 1988). Taking advantage of the weakening Tsarist Empire during the 1905 Revolution and the Russo-Japanese War, the SDP participated in demonstrations that would permit the creation of new democratic institutions, including a unicameral parliament (Eduskunta) elected by proportional representation. Finland then became the first European country to grant women voting rights. The 1906 reforms were the result of the solidarity between the liberal Constitutionalists, advocating political sovereignty, and the Social Democrats, who promoted political integration of the popular classes through universal suffrage (Sundberg, 1999). Following these successes, in 1907 the SDP became the country’s largest party, with 80 members in parliament, before obtaining 47 percent of the vote in 1916, still the only example of a Finnish party having held a majority in the House. It was, at the electoral level, one of the most powerful social democratic parties in Europe.
KeywordsParty System Coalition Government Center Party Social Democratic Party European Election
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Alapuro, R. (1988) State and Revolution in Finland (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press).Google Scholar
- Giannetti, D. and K. Benoit (2009) ‘Intraparty Politics and Coalition Governments in Parliamentary Democracies’ in D. Giannetti and K. Benoit (eds) Intraparty Politics and Coalition Governments, (London: Routledge), pp. 5–24.Google Scholar
- Hinnfors, J. (2006) Reinterpreting Social Democracy (Manchester: Manchester University Press).Google Scholar
- Jensen, T. (2000) ‘Party Cohesion’, in P. Esaiasson and K. Heidar (eds), Beyond Westminster and Congress. The Nordic Experience (Columbus, OH: Ohio University Press), pp. 210–36.Google Scholar
- Klingemann, H. D., A. Volkens, J. L. Bara, J. L. Budge and M. McDonald (2006) Mapping Policy Preferences II (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
- Moschonas, G. (2002) In the Name of Social Democracy: The Great Transformation, 1945 to the Present (London: Verso).Google Scholar
- Paloheimo, H. (2004) ‘Finland: Let the Force Be with the Leader — But Who Is the Leader?’ in T. Pogunkte and P. Webb (eds), The Politics of Presidentialization: A Comparative Study of Modern Democracies (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 246–68.Google Scholar
- Pesonen, P. (2001) ‘Change and Stability in the Finnish Party System’ in L. Karvonen and S. Kuhnle (eds) Party Systems and Voter Alignments Revisited (London and New York: Routledge), pp. 115–37.Google Scholar
- Pesonen, P. and O. Riihinen (2002) Dynamic Finland: The Political System and the Welfare State (Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society).Google Scholar
- Przeworski, A. and J. Sprague (1986) Paperstones: A History of Electoral Socialism (Chicago: Chicago University Press).Google Scholar
- Raunio, T. (2008) ‘The Difficult Task of Opposing Europe: The Finnish Party Politics of Euroscepticism’, in A. Szczerbiak and P. Taggart (eds) Opposing Europe: The Comparative Party Politics of Euroscepticism (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 168–80.Google Scholar
- Raunio, T. and T. Tiilikainen (2003) Finland in the European Union (London and Portland: Frank Cass).Google Scholar
- Sartori, G. (1966) ‘European Political Parties: The Case of Polarized Pluralism’, in J. LaPalombara and M. Weiner (eds), Political Parties and Political Development (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).Google Scholar
- Sundberg, J. (1999) ‘The Finnish Social Democratic Party’ in R. Ladrech and P. Marlière (eds), Social Democratic Parties in the European Union (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan), pp. 56–63.Google Scholar
- Sundberg, J. and N. Wilhemsson (2008) ‘Moving from Movement to Government: The Transformation of the Finnish Greens’, in K. Deschouwer (ed.) New Parties in Government (London and New York: Routledge), pp. 121–36.Google Scholar
- SDP www.sdp.fi, date accessed February 1, 2013.