Published 20th June, 2014
The Centre Party or C was founded in 1913 originally as the Farmers Union Party or Farmers’ League to represent the rural population. The party changed its name to its current title in 1957. The party describes itself as Centre and a ‘green social-liberal party’. It believes in Liberalism, Social liberalism and Agrarianism.
The party had its first electoral success in the 1917 general election when it won nine of the 230 seats in the Riksdag. Each election up to 1936 the party increased the number of seats it won and in that year it took 36 seats in the 230 seat Riksdag and subsequently cooperated in government with the Social Democrats.
The party was part of the national unity government during World War Two. After the war the number of seats it won started to drop off but between 1951 and 1956 it cooperated once more with the Social Democrats in government.
It was after the 1956 election that the party changed its name to the Centre Party and once more it started to pick up seats at each election. In 1976 the Centre Party won 86 seats (although it’s best ever result, 90 seats, was in 1973) and formed a three party coalition government with the Moderate Party and the Liberal People’s Party (FP). The Centre Party leader, Thorbjörn Fälldin, became Prime Minister.
The Centre Party went on to win 64 of the now 349 seats in the Riksdag and once more joined a coalition with the other two parties which finally lost in 1982. Since then the Centre Party has slowly lost support, although in 1991 it took 31 seats and once more joined with other centre-right parties to form a government under Centre Party leader Carl Bildt.
It was down to just 18 seats in the 1998 general election but then managed a revival to 29 seats in 2006 when it was part of the centre-right Alliance which formed a four party government. The Alliance won again in 2010 but the Centre Party dropped to 23 seats.
The Centre Party is a member of Liberal International as well as the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. In the European Parliament where the party currently has one of the 20 national seats it is a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe bloc.