Jan Björklund

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Jan Björklund
Jan Björklund, 2013-09-09 05.jpg
Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden
Incumbent
Assumed office
5 October 2010
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt
Preceded by Maud Olofsson
Minister for Education
Incumbent
Assumed office
12 September 2007
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt
Preceded by Lars Leijonborg
Leader of the Liberal People's Party
Incumbent
Assumed office
7 September 2007
Party secretary Erik Ullenhag
Nina Larsson
Preceded by Lars Leijonborg
Minister for Schools
In office
6 October 2006 – 12 September 2007
Preceded by Ibrahim Baylan
Succeeded by Himself as Minister for Education
Personal details
Born (1962-04-18) 18 April 1962 (age 52)
Skene, Sweden
Political party Liberal People's Party
Spouse(s) Anette Brifalk
Children 2
Occupation Politician, military officer

Jan Arne Björklund (born 18 April 1962) is a Swedish politician who has been leader of the Liberal People's Party and Minister for Education since 2007 and Deputy Prime Minister in the Swedish government since 2010.

Education and military career[edit]

Jan Björklund was born in Skene (today a part of Mark Municipality), Älvsborg County (today Västra Götaland County), Sweden.[1] His father Arne worked in the textile industry and his mother Ragna came to Sweden from Norway as a war refugee in 1944.[1] He came from a working class home and both of his parents lack higher education.[1]

After he had completed upper secondary education (gymnasium) in 1982, Björklund enlisted in the Swedish Armed Forces and earned the rank of officer in 1985.[1] He then served at the royal Life Guards in Stockholm, from where he retired as a major in 1994 to start a new career in politics.[1]

Political career[edit]

Björklund early became a member of the Liberal Youth of Sweden, the youth wing of the Liberal People's Party, in 1976.[1] He was elected as a member of board of the organization in 1983 and served as its second deputy chairman between 1985 to 1987.[1] He has served as a member of board of the Liberal People's Party since 1990.[1] He joined the party's leadership in 1995, became second deputy chairman in 1997 and first deputy chairman in 2001.[1]

In 1991 Björklund was elected as a substitute member of the Stockholm City Council, where he came to serve in the city's board of education.[1] Between 1994 and 1998 he served as an oppositional vice mayor (Swedish: oppositionsborgarråd) in Stockholm.[1] Between 1998 and 2002 he served as vice mayor for schools (Swedish: skolborgarråd) and between 2002 and 2006 he served again as oppositional vice mayor.[1]

In the run up to both the 2002 and 2006 elections, Björklund was chairman of the centre-right alliance's working group on education policy[1]

Government minister and party leader[edit]

In the 2006 election Björklund was elected as a Member of Parliament, and shortly thereafter appointed as Minister for Schools in the new centre-right cabinet led by Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.[1]

Following Lars Leijonborgs decision to retire as party leader at the Liberal People's Party's national meeting in September 2007, Björklund was unanimously nominated by the party's election committee as new party leader.[2] He was elected new party leader on 7 September 2007. At the same time he also overtook Leijonborg's position as head of the Ministry of Education and Research and as Minister for Education. However, the change in minister title was merely formal as his areas of responsibility are still those that he had as Minister for Schools.

Following the 2010 general election, in which the Liberal People's Party became the second largest party in the government alliance, Björklund replaced Maud Olofsson as Deputy Prime Minister on 5 October 2010.[3]

Political views[edit]

Björklund is often seen as a representative of the more right-wing, hard-edged faction of the Liberal Party.[2] He has focused most on school issues, where he is known for his support for orderliness and discipline. He has criticized the Swedish schools system for being too "dopey" and not focusing enough on knowledge. Among other things, he has advocated more frequent assessments and a reformed grade system.

In the run up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2002, as first deputy chairman of his party, Björklund expressed his support for Swedish participation in the multinational coalition on the condition that the invasion would receive broad international support (which it didn't).[4]

In January 2009 Björklund criticised the recent years downsizing of the Swedish defence. "After the last years development in Russia and the war in Georgia Sweden must be able to mobilize more soldiers than we can today" he stated during an interview in Swedish news program SVT.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Jan Björklund and his wife at Skansen, Stockholm, 2010.

Jan Björklund is married to Anette Brifalk, with whom he has two children.[1] He lives with his family in Bromma, Stockholm.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Mer om Jan" (in Swedish). Liberal People's Party. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Savage, James (15 June 2007). "Björklund nominated as Liberal leader". The Local. Retrieved 15 June 2007. 
  3. ^ "Sveriges nya regering" (Press release) (in Swedish). Government of Sweden. 5 October 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2010. 
  4. ^ "Björklund (fp) vill ha svensk trupp i Irak-krig" (in Swedish). Ekot. 24 November 2002. Retrieved 15 June 2007. 
  5. ^ "Björklund vill ha starkare försvar". Rapport (in Swedish) (SVT). 19 January 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2010. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Ibrahim Baylan
Minister for Schools
2006 – 2007
Succeeded by
Himself as Minister for Education
Preceded by
Lars Leijonborg
Minister for Education
2007–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Maud Olofsson
Deputy Prime Minister
2010–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Lars Leijonborg
Leader of the Liberal People's Party
2007–present
Incumbent