Social Democratic Party of Finland

Published 31st March, 2011

The Social Democratic Party of Finland or SDP was founded in 1899 originally as the Finnish Labour Party, but they changed their name in 1903. The state as their aims to group people together to achieve social democratic goals in a society with freedom, equality, solidarity and cooperation.

In 1906 the SDP became the largest parliamentary party with 37% of the vote and improved its share of the vote to 47% in 1916. It lost its majority in 1917 but still held 92 of the 200 seats in parliament.

In 1919 they dropped to 80 seats and in 1922 were down to 53 seats. By 1924 they had 60 seats and from 1926 to 1927 formed a minority government. They slowly increased their number of seats during the 1930s until 1939 when they took 85 of the 200 seats.

In 1945 the SDP won only 25.1% of the vote and dropped 35 seats to take just 50 seats. Neverhtless they remained in a coalition government and took part in further governments in 1951 and 1954 – 1957.

In 1958 the SDP lost their position as the largest party and declined further in the 1962 election. By 1966 they were back as the largest party, a position they maintained until 1991 when, after a quarter of a century the party went in to opposition.

In 1995 they regained first place with 63 seats, retained first place in 1999 with 51 seats but in 2003 were overtaken by the Centre Party even though they took 53 seats.

In 2007 the SDP took just 21.4% of the votes and 45 seats in the 200 seat parliament. They were out of government once more.

The SDP are members of Socialist International and the Party of European Socialists.

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