Moderate Party

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Moderate Party
Moderata samlingspartiet
ChairpersonUlf Kristersson
SecretaryKarin Enström
Parliamentary group leaderMattias Karlsson
Founded17 October 1904; 119 years ago (1904-10-17)
HeadquartersBlasieholmsgatan 4A, Norrmalm, Stockholm
Student wingModerate Students (official)
Confederation of Swedish Conservative and Liberal Students (unofficial)
Youth wingModerate Youth League
LGBT wingOpen Moderates
Membership (2022)Increase 49,768[1]
IdeologyLiberal conservatism
Political positionCentre-right
European affiliationEuropean People's Party
International affiliationInternational Democracy Union
European Parliament groupEuropean People's Party
Nordic affiliationConservative Group
  •   Dark blue (official)[a]
  •   Light blue
  •   Sky blue (customary)
SloganSäkrare, grönare, friare ('Safer, Greener, Freer')[2]
68 / 349
European Parliament
4 / 21
County councils[3]
328 / 1,720
Municipal councils[3]
2,584 / 12,614
Website Edit this at Wikidata

The Moderate Party (Swedish: Moderata samlingspartiet [mʊdɛˈrɑ̌ːta ˈsâmːlɪŋspaˌʈiːɛt] ,[4] lit.'Moderate Coalition Party', M), commonly referred to as the Moderates (Swedish: Moderaterna [mʊdɛˈrɑ̌ːtɛɳa] ), is a liberal-conservative[5] political party in Sweden. The party generally supports tax cuts, the free market, civil liberties and economic liberalism.[6] Globally, it is a full member of the International Democracy Union[7] and the European People's Party.[8]

The party was founded in 1904 as the General Electoral League (Allmänna valmansförbundet [ˈâlːmɛnːa ˈvɑ̂ːlmansfœrˌbɵndɛt] ) by a group of conservatives in the Riksdag, the Swedish parliament. The party was later known as The Right (Högern [ˈhø̌ːɡɛɳ] ; 1938–1952) and Right Party (Högerpartiet [ˈhø̂ːɡɛrpaˌʈiːɛt] ; 1952–1969).[9] During this time, the party was usually called the Conservative Party outside of Sweden.

After holding minor posts in centre-right governments, the Moderates eventually became the leading opposition party to the Swedish Social Democratic Party and since then those two parties have dominated Swedish politics. After the 1991 Swedish general election, party leader Carl Bildt formed a minority government, the first administration since 1930 to be headed by a member of the party, which lasted three years. The party returned to government under leader and Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, after the 2006 and 2010 general elections. In 2010, the party was the leading member of the Alliance, a centre-right coalition, along with the Centre Party (C), the Christian Democrats (KD) and the Liberal People's Party (L), and obtained its best result ever (30.1%), despite the coalition not being able to obtain majority.[10]

The current chairman of the party, Ulf Kristersson, was elected at a special party congress on 1 October 2017, following Anna Kinberg Batra's sudden resignation. Kinberg Batra had replaced Reinfeldt, Prime Minister from 2006 to 2014. Under Reinfeldt's leadership, the party moved more towards the centre.[11] Under Kristersson's leadership, the party moved back to the right and opened up to the Sweden Democrats (SD) following the 2018 Swedish general election.[12] Having formed in late 2021 an informal right-wing alliance with SD and former Alliance members, KD and L, with Kristersson as the prime ministerial candidate, the right-wing bloc obtained a narrow win in the 2022 Swedish general election.[13][14]


General Electoral League (1904–1938)[edit]

An election poster from the party in 1914 stating that military defense comes first

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 was also threatened by the rise of the Swedish Social Democratic Party (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 defence was underlined and other societal institutions embraced by the party were the monarchy and the state of law. The party initially held ia 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 (which overturned the parliamentary Liberal government), the party sided with King Gustav but stopped short of accepting a right-wing government by royal appointment, instead opting for an independent-conservative "war cabinet" under Hjalmar Hammarskjöld which was eventually overturned in favour of a Liberal-Social Democratic majority coalition government and thus the breakthrough of parliamentary rule, albeit reluctantly embraced by the right.

Arvid Lindman (often called "The Admiral") became influential in the party and served two terms as Prime Minister of Sweden, before and after the enactment of universal suffrage. 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 women's right to vote. It was only because the party was in the minority that Sweden was able to grant the right to vote for all, pushed through by the Liberals and the Social Democrats (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 to 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".

From the beginning of the 20th century, social democracy and the labour movement rose to replace liberalism as the major political force for radical reforms. The Moderate 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 the 1920s, the Swedish right slowly started to move towards a classical liberal view on economic issues, mainly under the influence of the liberal economist Gustav Cassel, but the economic downturn following the Great Depression frustrated the possible liberal transition of their economic policy. Before that occurred the party gained its greatest success yet with 29.4% in the general election of 1928, often called the Cossack Election, on a clearly anti-socialist programme. The government later formed by the party did not accept the concept of the market economy but continued the protectionist policy by generous financial aid. The government also began complete regulation of agriculture. Production associations, with the objective to administer the regulations and running monopolies on imports, were also established during the period. All this made for a corporate control of the Swedish economy unsurpassed since the popularisation of liberalism at the end of the 19th century.[15] The government of Lindman fell in 1930 after the Social Democrats and the Freeminded People's Party had blocked a proposition for a raised customs duty on grain.

The 1930s saw the party in conflict over how to relate to the rising threat of National Socialism and Fascism. Its loosely affiliated 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 Moderate Youth League or The Young Swedes (currently the largest youth league in Sweden in terms of membership), the core of the old one (in spite of some districts, such as Young Swedes-Gothenburg joining the new one) set up its own party—the National League of Sweden—which fought elections as an openly pro-Nazi party[citation needed] and temporarily gained parliamentary representation in the shape of three rightist MPs.

National Organization of the Right (1938–1952)[edit]

The party participated in the third cabinet of Per Albin Hansson during the Second World War. It was a grand coalition including all major parties, only excluding the Communist Party and the pro-Nazi Socialist Party, both parties being members of the parliament at this time.

In 1934, the Social Democrats formed a new government, and except for the World War II era, would stay in power until 1976. From having been a ruling party, the General Electoral League turned into a bastion of right-wing opposition, and in 1938 it was renamed the National Organization of the Right (Swedish: Högerns riksorganisation [ˈhøːɡɛɳʂ ˈrɪ̂ksɔrɡanɪsaˌɧuːn] ), a name that would stay until 1952. Outside Sweden, the party was typically called the Conservative Party.

After the Second World War, the party gradually lost support and the Liberals rose to become the second most popular party after the Social Democrats.

Conservative Party (1952–1969)[edit]

Jarl Hjalmarsson, leader of the party between 1950 and 1961

At the beginning of the 1950s, the party re-emerged after being renamed the Rightist Party (Swedish: Högerpartiet); its name outside Sweden remained Conservative Party. Under the leadership of Jarl Hjalmarson (1950–1961) the party became a prominent voice against the rising levels of taxation and a defender of private ownership from, what the party saw as, the growing tendencies of state centralization.

The party had significant success in the elections during the 1950s and became the largest party of the opposition in 1958. But the next decade brought changes to the political climate of Sweden. The election of 1968 gave the Social Democrats an absolute majority in the parliament and made the Rightist Party into the smallest party of the opposition.

Moderate Party (1969–present)[edit]

Carl Bildt, leader of the party between 1986 and 1999, was Foreign Minister between 2006 and 2014

By 1968, the dominance of the Social Democratic Party and 24 years of trailing the liberal People's Party among the opposition bloc had pushed the party to the edge of political relevance. Seeking to shed its ultra-conservative image, in 1969, the party changed its name to the Moderate Coalition Party (Swedish: Moderata samlingspartiet, generally just referred to as Moderaterna) or just the Moderate Party.

In 1970, Gösta Bohman was elected leader of the Moderate Party. During his leadership the party continued its gradual movement from nationalist traditionalist conservatism towards internationalist liberal conservatism, calling for Swedish membership in the EEC since the 1960s and in practice adopting most policies affiliated with classical liberalism. It also adopted a much more liberal social outlook, which was seen as a key factor in the foundation of the Christian Democratic Gathering in 1964, a socially conservative party. Bohman proved a successful leader, and helped lead the non-socialist opposition to victory in the 1976 election.

The Moderate Party 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, but the election of 1979 again made the Moderate Party become the second most popular after the Social Democrats, a position it has held since then. Gösta Bohman was in 1981 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 center-right coalition between 1991 and 1994, with Bildt serving as the first conservative Prime Minister since Arvid Lindman. The cabinet of Carl Bildt did much to reform the Swedish government: they cut taxes, cut public spending, introduced voucher schools, made it possible for counties to privatize health care, liberalised markets for telecommunications and energy, and privatised former publicly owned companies (further deregulations and privatisations were carried out by the following Social Democratic Cabinet of Göran Persson). The negotiations for membership with the European Union were also finalized.

Fredrik Reinfeldt, leader of the party between 2003 and 2015

The party gained votes in 1994, but the governing coalition lost its majority. While Bildt stayed on as the Moderate Party leader, failing to unite with the Greens, the non-socialist parties failed to return to government after the election in 1998 as well. Bo Lundgren replaced him and led the party in the disastrous general election of 2002, much owed to his alleged neoliberal stances, for which Lundgren continued to receive praise from younger members. Former head of the Moderate Youth Fredrik Reinfeldt was elected as the new party leader in 2003.

Prior to the 2006 general election, the Moderate Party adjusted its position in the political spectrum, moving towards the centre-right. To reflect these changes, the party's unofficial name was altered to The New Moderates (Swedish: De Nya Moderaterna [dɔm ˈnŷːa mʊdɛˈrɑ̌ːtɛɳa] ).[16] This has included focus on proactive measures against unemployment, lower taxes combined with reforms to strengthen the Swedish welfare state. The Moderate Party has since 2006 used the slogan "the Swedish Workers' Party", a slogan formerly synonymous with the Social Democrats.

In the 2006 general election, the Moderate Party enjoyed its best result since 1928 with 26.2% of the votes. The Moderate Party had formed the Alliance for Sweden, a political and electoral alliance, along with the Centre Party, the Liberal People's Party and the Christian Democrats prior to this election. After the election, the Alliance for Sweden was able to form a coalition government. Party leader Fredrik Reinfeldt took office as Prime Minister of Sweden on 6 October 2006 along with his cabinet. In the 2010 general election, the Moderate Party performed their best results, since the introduction of universal suffrage in 1919, with 30.1% of the votes. However, the minor parties in the Alliance performed relatively poorly, and the Reinfeldt cabinet continued in office as a minority government.

Ulf Kristersson, the current leader of the party since 2017

He is the longest-serving non–Social Democrat Prime Minister since Erik Gustaf Boström who left office in 1900.

In the 2014 European elections, the Moderate Party came in third place nationally with 13.6% of the vote, returning three MEPs.

In the 2014 general election, the Red-Green coalition outpolled Reinfeldt's incumbent Alliance coalition, prompting its resignation. The Social Democrat Stefan Löfven became Prime Minister on 3 October 2014. The Moderate Party performed reasonably well also in the 2014 election, making Reinfeldt its most successful leader with three of their four best election results since 1932.[citation needed] Anna Kinberg Batra was elected to succeed Reinfeldt as party leader on 10 January 2015. Ulf Kristersson succeeded Kinberg-Batra on 1 October 2017.

The Moderate Party made its worst election result since 2002 in the 2018 general election.[17] Ulf Kristersson announced that the party would "create a new Swedish Model" at the Moderate Party Congress on 5 April 2019 and also that the party would be phasing out the New Moderates name. The party also presented its new logo, the old M logo which was used between 1972 and 2006 was adopted again.[18] The change in logo was seen by analysts as a way to show that the party breaks with Reinfeldt's policies.[19] Ulf Kristersson has also been critical of multiculturalism.[20]

Kristersson held a meeting in December 2019 with Jimmie Åkesson, leader of the Sweden Democrats, and said that he would cooperate with them in parliament. The anti-immigration party had previously been subject to a cordon sanitaire by all other parties, with Kristersson himself ruling out dialogue with them ahead of the 2018 elections. According to Ann-Cathrine Jungar of Södertörn University, this put Sweden in line with several other European countries in which the centre-right and nationalist-right parties cooperate.[12]

In October 2022, the Tidö Agreement was formed, which led to the formation of the Kristersson Cabinet as Sweden's government.[21] On 18 October 2022, Ulf Kristersson became the new Prime Minister of Sweden.[22] The Moderates formed a centre-right coalition with the Christian Democrats and the Liberals, backed by the Sweden Democrats.[23] Soon after his appointment as foreign minister, Tobias Billström of the Moderate Party, announced that Sweden will renounce "feminist foreign policy", implemented by the previous left-wing government.[24]

In 2024 new laws proposed by the Kristersson Cabinet to combat Sweden's criminality crisis took in effect including harder penalties against weapons offences, breach of the permit obligation for explosive goods, arms smuggling and smuggling of explosive goods.[25] Other laws gave increased opportunities to the police to use covert means of coercion to prevent and investigate serious crime, tougher border controls and extended power to security guards.[25] On 20 February 2024, the Kristersson cabinet sent the largest military support package to Ukraine.[26] During Kristerssons Premiership, Sweden ended longstanding neutrality to become a NATO member on 7 March.[27]

Ideology and political positions[edit]

The Moderate Party states that its ideology is a mix of liberalism and conservatism, and corresponds to what is called liberal conservatism. As is common in European centre-right[28][12] and conservative parties, the term liberalism in Sweden refers to the traditional meaning of classical liberalism rather than progressivism or social liberalism in countries such as the United States.

The party supports free markets and personal freedom and has historically been the essential force for privatisation, deregulation, lowering tax rates, and a reduction of the public-sector growth rate.[29] Other issues emphasized by the party are such as actions against violent crime and sex crime, increasing and promoting the value of working, and quality in the educational system. The party supports same-sex marriage in Sweden and Sweden's membership in the European Union. The Moderate Party considers itself as a "green-right" party.[30]

The party campaigned for changing currency to the euro in the 2003 referendum. As of 2013, the party was still in favor of the euro, but it expressed that the issue of a membership of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union and the eurozone would not be relevant until the member states have met certain strict requirements set up by the party in regard to budget deficits.[31] In the 2024 EU elections, the Moderate Party proposed making abortion constitutionally protected in Europe.[32]

After Fredrik Reinfeldt became leader, the party slowly moved further towards the political centre and also adopted pragmatic views. The party abandoned several of its old key features such as a proportional income tax and increased military spending. Criticism of the labour laws, its former characteristic which was neoliberal, was changed towards conserving the Swedish model and a careful embracing of balance on the labour market.[33]

With the ascension of Anna Kinberg Batra as party leader, the party adjusted its position in the political spectrum and moved back towards the political right.[34] The party abandoned its previously liberal stance on immigration, notably manifested by Fredrik Reinfeldt's summer speech in 2014 in which he appealed for "open hearts" to meet the expected migrant waves. The party supports border controls and tougher rules for immigrants, including temporary residence permits, stricter requirements for family reunification and cuts in welfare benefits.[35][36] Swedish values was a recurring subject in Anna Kindberg Batra's speech at the Almedalen Week in 2016, and she said that immigrants should make efforts to learn the Swedish language and take part of Swedish societal orientation, or risk getting reduced benefits and harder to get permanent residence permits.[37] Since 2015, the party has taken up its demand for increased military spending, and has supported the re-introduction of mandatory military service, inactivated in Sweden under Fredrik Reinfeldt in 2010.[38][39]

The party is in favour of Swedish membership of NATO and supported Sweden's application for membership.[40] The party expressed a wish that a membership is applied for together with Finland which is what happened in May 2022.[41]

Voter base[edit]

Statistical changes in voter base[edit]

Socio-economic group and gender of voters
Percentage of which voting for the Moderates
Groups/Gender 2002 2006 2010 2014 2018 2022
Blue-collar workers 7 16 19 13 14 14
White-collar workers 21 32 34 26 22 21
Businessmen and farmers 25 44 38 35 29 25
Male 16 31 32 25 21 21
Female 11 23 26 22 19 17
Source: [42]

Electoral history[edit]

Parliament (Riksdag)[edit]

Election Votes % Seats +/– Government
1911 188,691 31.1 (#2)
65 / 230
286,250 37.7 (#1)
86 / 230
Increase 21 Opposition
268,631 36.7 (#1)
86 / 230
Steady Opposition (1914–1917)
Minority (1917)
1917 182,070 24.7 (#3)
59 / 230
Decrease 27 Opposition
1920 183,019 27.9 (#2)
70 / 230
Increase 11 Opposition
1921 449,257 25.8 (#2)
62 / 230
Decrease 8 Opposition (1921–1923)
Minority (1923–1924)
1924 461,257 26.1 (#2)
65 / 230
Increase 3 Opposition
1928 692,434 29.4 (#2)
73 / 230
Increase 8 Minority (1928–1930)
Opposition (1930–1932)
1932 576,053 23.1 (#2)
58 / 230
Decrease 15 Opposition
1936 512,781 17.6 (#2)
44 / 230
Decrease 9 Opposition (1936–1939)
Coalition (1939–1940)
1940 518,346 18.0 (#2)
42 / 230
Decrease 2 Coalition
1944 488,921 15.8 (#2)
39 / 230
Decrease 3 Coalition (1944–1945)
Opposition (1945–1948)
1948 478,779 12.3 (#2)
23 / 230
Decrease 16 Opposition
1952 543,825 14.4 (#3)
31 / 230
Increase 8 Opposition
1956 663,693 17.1 (#3)
42 / 231
Increase 11 Opposition
1958 750,332 19.5 (#2)
45 / 233
Increase 3 Opposition
1960 704,365 16.6 (#3)
39 / 233
Decrease 6 Opposition
1964 582,609 13.7 (#4)
33 / 233
Decrease 6 Opposition
1968 621,031 12.9 (#4)
32 / 233
Decrease 1 Opposition
1970 573,812 11.5 (#4)
41 / 350
Increase 9 Opposition
1973 737,584 14.3 (#3)
51 / 350
Increase 10 Opposition
1976 847,672 15.6 (#3)
55 / 349
Increase 4 Coalition (1976–1978)
Opposition (1978–1979)
1979 1,108,406 20.3 (#2)
73 / 349
Increase 18 Coalition
1982 1,313,337 23.6 (#2)
86 / 349
Increase 13 Opposition
1985 1,187,335 21.3 (#2)
76 / 349
Decrease 10 Opposition
1988 983,226 18.3 (#2)
66 / 349
Decrease 10 Opposition
1991 1,199,394 21.9 (#2)
80 / 349
Increase 14 Coalition
1994 1,243,253 22.4 (#2)
80 / 349
Steady 0 Opposition
1998 1,204,926 22.9 (#2)
82 / 349
Increase 2 Opposition
2002 791,660 15.1 (#2)
55 / 349
Decrease 27 Opposition
2006 1,456,014 26.2 (#2)
97 / 349
Increase 42 Coalition
2010 1,791,766 30.1 (#2)
107 / 349
Increase 10 Coalition
2014 1,403,630 23.3 (#2)
84 / 349
Decrease 23 Opposition
2018 1,284,698 19.8 (#2)
70 / 349
Decrease 14 Opposition
2022 1,237,428 19.1 (#3)
68 / 349
Decrease 2 Coalition

European Parliament[edit]

Election Votes % Seats +/–
1995 621,568 23.2 (#2)
5 / 22
1999 524,755 20.7 (#2)
5 / 22
Steady 0
2004 458,398 18.3 (#2)
4 / 19
Decrease 1
2009 596,710 18.8 (#2)
4 / 18
4 / 20
Steady 0
Steady 0
2014 507,488 13.7 (#3)
3 / 20
Decrease 1
2019 698,770 16.8 (#2)
4 / 20
Increase 1


The party is organised on national, county and municipal level. Currently the party has around 600 local party associations and 26 county or city associations[43] Each county or city association sends delegates to the party congress, which is held every third year.[44] The 200 congress delegates elect a party chairman, two deputy party chairmen, and members of the party board.[44] The party board appoints a party secretary.[44]

In February 2022, the party's reported membership is 49,768 people, the second largest membership count after the Social Democrats.[45]

Affiliated organizations[edit]

The Moderate Party has the following affiliated groups and organizations:

  • Moderate Youth League (Moderata ungdomsförbundet, abbr. MUF), organizes students and young members.
  • Moderate Seniors (Moderata seniorer [mʊdɛˈrɑ̌ːta sɛnɪˈǒːrɛr] ), organizes senior members.
  • Moderate Women (Moderatkvinnorna), organizes female members.
  • Open Moderates (Öppna moderater Swedish pronunciation: [ˈœ̂pːna mʊdɛˈrɑ̌ːtɛr]), organizes queer members.



First deputy party chairpersons (since 1935)[edit]

Second deputy party chairpersons (since 1935)[edit]

Party secretaries (since 1949)[edit]

National ombudsmen (1909–1965)[edit]

Prime Ministers[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Since 2019


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  23. ^ "Ulf Kristersson: Swedish parliament elects new PM backed by far right". BBC News. 17 October 2022.
  24. ^ "Sweden ditches 'feminist foreign policy'". BBC News. 19 October 2022.
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  26. ^ Regeringskansliet, Regeringen och (20 February 2024). "Government presents largest military support package to Ukraine to date". Regeringskansliet. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  27. ^ Nyheter, S. V. T. (7 March 2024). "Sverige formellt medlem i Nato – Kristersson: "Djupt tacksamma"". SVT Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  28. ^
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