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Justice minister re-elected as Swedish People's Party chair, hails election results

Henriksson says this spring's elections show that the small language-based party remains relevant.

Anna-Maja Henriksson
Anna-Maja Henriksson became the SPP's first female chair three years ago. Image: Pekka Tynell / Yle

The Swedish People's Party has unanimously re-elected Anna-Maja Henriksson as its chair. She got the green light for another three-year leadership term at a party conference in Vaasa on Finland's west coast. She had no challenger for the post.

Last week Henriksson resumed her old post of justice minister, which she held in two cabinets between 2011 and 2015.

Henriksson said that the results of the two elections this spring showed that the small language-based party remains relevant.

"The results of this political spring speak for themselves. There is clearly a demand for our policies. Finland needs the SPP and its liberal, bourgeois policies".

Support between 4.5 and 6.3%

The small, middle-of-the-road Swedish People's Party has just returned to its familiar spot as a junior government partner after a rare term in the opposition.

An Yle opinion poll released on Friday showed the party gaining a slight rise in popularity up to 4.5 percent voter approval. That is the same level of support it garnered in April's parliamentary election, allowing it retain its nine seats in the 200-seat legislature – and its status as seventh largest of the eight parties in Parliament.

The SPP performed slightly better in May's European Parliament election, picking up 6.3 percent of voters and holding on to its one seat among a baker's dozen Finnish MEPs.

According to Statistics Finland, 5.2 percent of the population spoke Swedish as a mother tongue in 2018, down from 6.3 percent in 1980.

Adlercreutz leads parliamentary delegation

As the smallest of the five parties in the new coalition government, the SPP has two cabinet seats out of 19. The second went to Thomas Blomqvist of Raseborg, western Uusimaa, who is now minister for equality and Nordic cooperation.

Henriksson hails from Jakobstad, 100 km up the coast from Vaasa, where she has been a town councillor since 1997. The 55-year-old lawyer has been in Parliament since 2007, becoming the SPP's first female chair in June 2016.

The party elected three deputy chairs on Sunday: Sandra Bergqvist, Silja Borgarsdóttir Sandelin and Henrik Wickström. Former deputy chair Anders Adlercreutz, an architect from Kirkkonummi, was elected as leader of the SPP parliamentary group, taking over from Blomqvist.

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