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SPP re-elects Anna-Maja Henriksson as chair

She had no challenger for the post.

Anna-Maja Henriksson will continue leading the Swedish People's Party. Image: Markku Ulander / Lehtikuva

The Swedish People's Party (SPP) re-elected Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson as its chair in a virtual party conference on Sunday.

The party also re-elected three deputy chairs: Sandra Bergqvist, Silja Borgarsdóttir Sandelin and Henrik Wickström

Henriksson, who is Finland's Justice Minister, became the first woman to lead the small language-based party in 2016. She is one of Finland's longest-serving justice ministers, having held the post in three cabinets, from 2011 to 2015 and again since mid-2019.

She hails from the majority Swedish-speaking town of Pietarsaari, which like many rural communities faces depopulation. Speaking to Yle News' All Points North podcast this spring, she said access to affordable housing could help draw families to the countryside.

"You can have a house in Jakobstad [Pietarsaari] for the same price as a small apartment in the middle of Helsinki," she said.

Listen to Anna-Maja Henriksson talking to Yle News' All Points North podcast:

Article continues after audio.

Some five percent of Finland's population is made up of the Swedish-speaking minority, but the group's proportion has steadily declined since the early 1900s, when nearly 13 percent spoke the language. However, Swedish remains one of the country's official languages.

This week, a new report commissioned by Finnish-Swedish lobby Folktinget found that the number of Swedish-speaking Finns has reached an all-time low at 5.2 percent of the population.

Henriksson has said she wants to see the SPP grow as a party, pledging that it will earn more than five percent of seats in June's local elections.

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