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Moderate Party
Moderata samlingspartiet
Leader Fredrik Reinfeldt
Founded 17 October 1904
Headquarters Stora Nygatan 30,
Gamla stan, Stockholm
Ideology Liberal conservatism
Political position Centre-right
International affiliation International Democrat Union
European affiliation European People's Party
European Parliament Group European People's Party
Official colours Blue
European Parliament:
Politics of Sweden
Political parties

The Moderate Party (Swedish: Moderata samlingspartiet: "the Moderate Coalition Party", commonly referred to in Swedish as Moderaterna: "the Moderates") is a centre-right, liberal conservative political party in Sweden.[2]A moderate party is a person who is moderate in opinion or opposed to extreme views and actions. The party was founded in 1904 as the General Electoral League by a group of conservatives in the Swedish parliament. The party has had two other names during its history: the National Organization of the Right (1938–1952) and the Rightist Party (1952–1969).

Following the 2006 general election, where the party gained 26.23% of the vote, the party forms the major part of the government together with the other parties in the centre-right Alliance for Sweden: the Centre Party, the Liberal People's Party and the Christian Democrats. The current chairman of the party is Fredrik Reinfeldt, who is also Prime Minister of Sweden.


Early history

The party was founded on 17 October 1904 in a restaurant called Runan in Stockholm. The intention was to start a campaign organization in support of the group of Conservatives which had emerged in the Riksdag. During the 19th century conservatives had organised themselves in the Riksdag but there was no party to support them. The Swedish right-wing were also threatened by the rise of the Social Democrats (founded in 1889) and the Liberals (1902). The party was called the General Electoral League (Swedish: Allmänna valmansförbundet).

At first the party was clearly nationalist and staunchly conservative. The importance of a strong defense was underlined and other societal institutions embraced by the party were the monarchy and the state of law. The party held initially a protectionist view towards the economy, tariffs were widely supported as well as interventionist economical measures such as agricultural subsidies. In the defence policy crisis in 1914, the party sided with the King.

Arvid Lindman (often called "The Admiral") became influential in the party and was Prime Minister of Sweden twice. In 1907 he proposed universal male suffrage to the parliament and in 1912 he was formally elected leader. But the party voted against universal suffrage and the party again voted against womens right to vote. It was only because the party was in minority that Sweden was able to grant the right to vote for all, pushed through by the liberals and the left, against the objections of the right. Although not one of the founders of the party and not a prominent ideologist, Lindman and his achievements as a leader are often appreciated as being of great importance for the new party. His leadership was marked by a consolidation of the Swedish right, and by transforming the party into a modern, effective, political movement. Lindman was a very pragmatic politician, but without losing his principles. He was a formidable negotiator and peace-broker. For this he was widely respected, even by his fiercest political opponents and when he resigned and left the parliament in 1935, the leader of the Social Democrats, Per Albin Hansson, expressed his "honest thanks over the battle lines".

Since the beginning of the 20th century, socialism and the socialist labour movement rose to replace liberalism as the major political force for radical reforms. The party intensified its opposition to socialism during the leadership of Lindman - the importance of continuance and strengthening national business were cornerstones. But at the same time, recent social issues gained significant political attention; by appeasing the working class, the party also hoped to reduce the threat of revolutionary tendencies. During the governments led by Lindman, several reforms for social progress were made, and it was his first government that initiated the public state pension.

The Second cabinet of Arvid Lindman in 1928

In 1928 the party achieved its best election result to date - 29,4 %. At this time, the Swedish right had slowly started to move towards a classical liberal view on economic issues, under influence by mainly the liberal economist Gustav Cassel, but the economic downturn following the Great Depression frustrated the possible liberal transition of the economic policy. Despite that the party gained success in the general election of 1928, often called the Cossack Election, on a clearly anti-socialist program, the government later formed by the party did not respect the concept of market economy, but continued the protectionist policy by generous financial aid. The government also started a complete regulation of the agriculture. Producation associations, with the objecitve to administrate the regulations and to run monopolies on imports, where also established during the period. All leading up to a corporate control of the Swedish economy unpassed since the popularisation of liberalism at the end of the 19th century. [3]. The government under Lindman fell in 1930 after the Social Democrats and the Freeminded People's Party had blocked a proposition for raised customs duty on grain.

The 1930s saw also the party in conflict over how to relate to Nazism. Its youth organisation, the National Youth League of Sweden (Swedish: Sveriges Nationella Ungdomsförbund) was openly pro-Nazi and set up uniformed "fighting groups" to combat political enemies on the streets[citation needed]. The mother party did not like this development, with Lindman clearly stating that pro-nazi views were not to be accepted in the party, and in 1933 the National Youth League was separated from the party. While the party set up a new youth league, which came to be called the The Young Swedes, the old one formed its own party which fought elections as a pro-Nazi party[citation needed].

The Rightist Party

Yngve Holmberg, leader of the party between 1965-1970, in the center of a photo from 1966.

In 1934 the Social Democrats formed a new government. They came to stay in power until 1976, thus the party became a leading opposition party. In 1938 the party was renamed the National Organization of the Right (Swedish: Högerns riksorganisation). The party took participated in the unity government (together with the Social Democrats, Liberals and the Farmers League) during the Second World War, when Sweden was neutral.

In 1952 the party was renamed the Rightist Party (Swedish: Högerpartiet). During the leadership of Jarl Hjalmarson the party started to emerge as the leading opposition to the government. The turbulent year of 1968, with student revolts and an absolute majority for the Social Democrats made the ideological agenda of the party seem extreme and the party rename itself the Moderate Coalition Party (Swedish: Moderata samlingspartiet, generally just referred to as Moderaterna) in 1969.

Recent decades

Fredrik Reinfeldt, party leader since 2003

In 1970 Gösta Bohman was elected leader. During his leadership the party started to move from traditionalist conservatism towards liberal conservatism, which continues to this day.

In 1976 the opposition won an election and the Moderates joined the government under Thorbjörn Fälldin, with Gösta Bohman as Minister of Economy. The non-socialist parties managed to remain in power until 1982 in different constellations. The election of 1979, however, made the Moderate Party the largest non-socialist party. Gösta Bohman was replaced by Ulf Adelsohn.

In 1986, Carl Bildt was elected leader of the party. A son-in-law of Bohman, he managed to lead the party to an election victory in 1991. The Moderate Party led a non-socialist coalition between 1991 and 1994 with Carl Bildt as Prime Minister. The government did much to reform the Swedish government: cut taxes, cut public spending, introduced voucher schools, made it possible for counties to privatize health care, liberalized markets for telecommunications and energy, and privatized former publicly owned companies (deregulations and privatisations were further carried out by the following social-democratic government). The negotiations for membership with the EU was also finalised.

The party gained votes in 1994, but the governing coalition lost its majority. Bildt stayed on as the Moderate party leader, but the non-socialist parties lost the election in 1998 as well. Bo Lundgren replaced him and led the party in the disastrous election of 2002. Fredrik Reinfeldt was elected as the new party leader in 2003.

With the general election of 2006 the Moderates formed a coalition government with the Centre Party, the Liberal People's Party and the Christian Democrats.


The Moderate Party states that its ideology is a mix of liberalism and conservatism, and corresponds to what is called liberal conservatism. The term liberalism is in Sweden and most of Europe not used in the way that it is currently used in the United States to denote "progressives", but is closer to the traditional meaning of classical liberalism.

The Party thus supports free markets, privatisation, personal freedom, tax cuts for job creation and reduction of the public-sector growth rate, while still embracing most of the social benefits introduced since the 1930s. The party emphasises issues such as actions against crime, to increase and promote the value of working, and quality in the educational system. The party supports the legalization of same-sex marriage in Sweden and it supports Sweden's membership in the European Union.

The party campaigned for changing currency to the Euro in the 2003 referendum, but its more radical youth league did however in 2007 decide to say no to a Swedish membership in the monetary union [4]. The official policy of Fredrik Reinfeldt in the issue, as of 2008, is that the result of the 2003 referendum has to be respected and that the issue will not be raised during the present term (-2010). [5]

Since Fredrik Reinfeldt became party leader, the party has slowly started to move further towards the political center and also adopted pragmatic views. The party has abandoned several of its old key features such as a proportional income tax and increased military spending. Its former characteristical, according to some slightly neo-liberal, criticism of the labour laws has changed towards conservatism regarding the Swedish model and a careful embracing of balance on the labour market[6].

The Party has postponed a decision on Swedish membership of NATO and will not push for NATO membership the next years. It also seeks to decrease, but make more effective, the spending on foreign aid.


The party is led by the party chairman who is also leader of the party. He or she is assisted by the board of the party.

The party is organised on national, county and municipal level. Each county sends delegates to the Party Congress, which is held every second year.

Young members are organised in the Moderate Youth League, but the party has no official separate student organisation, although the views of the party are closest[citation needed] to those of the Confederation of Swedish Conservative and Liberal Students (FSMF). However, the FMSF is a fully independent organisation, so in order to tie students to its own organization, the Moderate Youth League founded in 2009 a national network for students, named Moderate Students, which has grown rapidly since then.

Senior citizens can join Moderate Seniors (Swedish: Moderata seniorer) and women can join Moderate Women (Swedish: Moderatkvinnor).

The Party a member of the European People's Party (EPP) and the International Democrat Union (IDU).

Voter base

According to studies of Swedish electoral behaviour made at Göteborg University, the party has its strongest base around Stockholm and in Skåne. It is generally weak in the north of Sweden. Typical Moderate voters are white-collar workers and other private sector workers, usually with a higher-than-average income. The party has a stronger electoral support amongst men than amongst women.[7]

Party leaders

The result of the Moderate Party in the 2006 general election.

Party Secretaries since 1949

First deputy party chairmen since 1935

  • Bernhard Johansson i Fredrikslund 1935
  • Martin Skoglund i Doverstorp 1935-1956
  • Leif Cassel 1956-1965
  • Gösta Bohman 1965-1970
  • Staffan Burenstam Linder 1970-1981
  • Lars Tobisson 1981-1999
  • Chris Heister 1999-2003
  • Gunilla Carlsson 2003-

Second deputy party chairmen since 1935

National Ombudsmen

  • Gustaf Gustafsson 1909 - 1913
  • Karl Hammarberg 1913 - 1915
  • Jonas Folcker 1915 - 1920
  • Lennart Kolmodin 1920 - 1949
  • Nils Hellström 1949 - 1965

See also



  1. ^ a b "Allmänna val, valresultat". Statistics Sweden. 
  2. ^ Note that "liberal" has only the connotations of classical liberalism in Europe.
  3. ^ Norberg, J. (1999). Den svenska Liberalismens historia. Timbro. ISBN 9175664291.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Allmänna valen Kap 4

External links



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