The Centre Party (Centerpartiet, abbreviated c) is a centrist political party in Sweden. The party maintains close ties to rural Sweden and describes itself as "a green social liberal party". The ideology is sometimes called agrarian, but in a European context, the Centre Party can perhaps best be characterized as social liberal focusing on agricultural, environmental, and rural questions. Longterm key issues have been opposition to nuclear power and proposals to decentralize governmental authority.
The party was founded in 1913 as Bondeförbundet (Farmers' League). In 1922 it merged with Jordbrukarnas Riksförbund (National Farmers Union).
The name of the party changed from Bondeförbundet in 1957. It had then been the closest ally of the Social Democrats for 25 years, and coalition partners 1936–1945 as well as 1951–1957, but has since revised this strategy in order to establish a closer longterm alliance between the Centre-right (Swedish borgerlig, lit. "bourgeois") parties, that succeeded the Social Democratic cabinets 1976–1982 and 1991–1994. The Swedish Prime Minister Torbjörn Fälldin was the leader of the Centre Party.
In recent years the party has changed direction to become a more classical liberal party, which has attracted interest from voters in urban areas. In 2006 the Centerpartiet was the fastest growing party in Stockholm.
In 2005 the Centre Party sold its ownership of the newspaper group Centertidningar AB for 1.8 billion SEK, thus making it the richest political party in the world.
The 2006 Swedish election
was a success for the Centre Party. Their support had been slowly increasing through the past elections. In 1998, the Centre Party received 5.1% of the votes, and support increased to 6.2% in 2002. In the 2006 elections, 7.88% of the vote went to the Centre Party, entitling them to 29 of the 349 seats in the Swedish Riksdag
. Furthermore, their alliance with the other parties in the Alliance for Sweden
, a coalition which won a majority of parliament seats in this election, means that the Centre Party will be splitting the ministry posts with their Alliance for Sweden allies: the Moderate Party
, the Liberal People's Party
and the Christian Democratic Party
Centerpartiet is a pro-immigration party, and in their campaign for the Swedish general election, 2006
, they have proposed to double the number of immigrants entering Sweden to 90 000 persons, or 1 per cent of the Swedish population. This will be facilitated by issuing green cards
Centerpartiet advocates a federative
model for the European Union, governed by the principle of subsidiarity
. Although Centerpartiet was against the introduction of the Euro
in 2003, it has more or less reversed its position, with the youth branch of the party actively advocating a fast entry to the Eurozone
In the European Parliament Centerpartiet is part of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party.
Traditionally, many of the voters come from rural areas and quite a few are farmers or small businessmen. In recent years however, since the takeover of Maud Olofsson
the party has been attracting liberal
voters from urban areas. It is believed that voters from the Liberal People's Party
have been moving to Centerpartiet due to changes in both parties.