Moderate Party

For other uses, see Moderate Party (disambiguation).
Moderate Party
Moderata samlingspartiet
Abbreviation M
Party chairman Anna Kinberg Batra
Party secretary Tomas Tobé
Parliamentary group leader Jessica Polfjärd
Founded 17 October 1904 (1904-10-17)
Headquarters Stora Nygatan 30,
Gamla stan, Stockholm
Student wing Moderate Students
Youth wing Moderate Youth League
Membership  (2010) 55,612[1]
Ideology Liberal conservatism[2]
Political position Centre-right[3]
National affiliation The Alliance
European affiliation European People's Party
International affiliation International Democrat Union
European Parliament group European People's Party
Colours      Blue
Slogan "Sverige kan mer." ("Sweden can be more.")
84 / 349
European Parliament
3 / 20
County councils[4]
339 / 1,597
Municipal councils[5]
2,435 / 12,780

The Moderate Party (Swedish: Moderata samlingspartiet: "the Moderate Coalition Party", commonly referred to in Swedish as Moderaterna: "the Moderates") is a liberal-conservative[6][7][8][9] political party in Sweden.

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: "Högern" or The Rights (1938–1952) and "Högerpartiet" Right (Wing) Party (1952–1969).[10]

Following minor roles in centre-right governments, the Moderates became the leading opposition party to the Swedish Social Democratic Party and since then those two parties have dominated Swedish politics. In 1991, party leader Carl Bildt formed a minority government after the centre-right coalition had the largest mandate in Parliament. This was the first time the Moderates had been head of government, but following the election loss in 1994, the party spent 12 years as opposition leaders, before it could form a majority government following a successful 2006 general election.

Following the 2010 general election, the party gained 30.06% of the vote, and became the major component of the centre-right coalition, the Alliance, along with the Centre Party, the Liberal People's Party and the Christian Democrats. The coalition governed until its defeat in the 2014 general election. The current chairman of the party, Anna Kinberg Batra, was elected at the party congress on 10 January 2015. She succeeded Fredrik Reinfeldt who had served as Prime Minister of Sweden from 2006 to 2014. Under Reinfeldt's leadership, the party moved more towards the centre in Swedish politics.[11] The party generally supports reducing taxation and economic liberalism.[12]

The Moderate Party is a full member of the International Democrat Union[13] and European People's Party.[14]


General Electoral League (1904–1938)

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 were 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 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, 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 favor 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 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 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".

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 to run 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 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. 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 and temporarily gained parliamentary representation in shape of three rightist MPs.

National Organization of the Right (1938–1952)

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), 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 Liberal People's Party rose to become the second party after the Social Democrats.

The Rightist Party (1952–1969)

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 an important 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 reduced the Rightist Party to become the smallest party of opposition.

Moderate Party (1969–present)

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

The party was increasingly seen as extremist, and in hopes of changing its image, it changed its name to the Moderate Coalition Party (Swedish: Moderata Samlingspartiet, generally just referred to as Moderaterna) in 1969, 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 party 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 non-socialist coalition between 1991 and 1994, with Bildt serving as the first conservative Prime Minister since Lindman. The Cabinet of Carl Bildt did much to reform the Swedish government: cut taxes, cut public spending, introduced voucher schools, made it possible for counties to privatise health care, liberalised markets for telecommunications and energy, and privatised former publicly owned companies (further deregulation and privatisation was carried out by the following Social Democratic Cabinet of Göran Persson). The negotiations for membership with the European Union was also finalised.

The party gained votes in 1994, but the governing coalition lost its majority. 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 libertarian stances, for which Lundgren continues to receive praise from younger members, however. 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).[16] This has included focus on proactive measures against unemployment, lower taxes combined with reforms to strengthen the Swedish welfare state. The Moderate Party since 2006 has used the slogan of "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.

Reinfeldt is the first centre-right Prime Minister since the Swedish-Norwegian Union to be re-elected. 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 3 MEPs.

In the 2014 general election the three centre-left parties outpolled Reinfeldt's incumbent Alliance coalition, prompting its resignation. The Social Democrat Stefan Löfven became Prime Minister on 3 October 2014. Anna Kinberg Batra was elected to succeed Reinfeldt as party leader on 10 January 2015.

With the ascension of Anna Kinberg Batra as party leader, the Moderate Party adjusted its position in the political spectrum, moving back towards the right with large changes on subjects surrounding integration with tougher rules for those arrived to Sweden and migration with a stances involving border controls and temporary residence permits, becoming generally more conservative.

Ideology and political positions

Fredrik Reinfeldt, leader of the party between 2003 and 2015.

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 modern liberals and progressives, but is closer to the traditional meaning of classical liberalism.

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.[17] 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 the legalization of same-sex marriage in Sweden and Sweden's membership in the European Union.

The party campaigned for changing currency to the Euro in the 2003 referendum. The policy of Fredrik Reinfeldt on the issue, as of 2008, was that the result of the 2003 referendum had to be respected and that the issue was not going be raised during the then present term (-2010).[18]

After Fredrik Reinfeldt became leader, the party slowly started to move further towards the political centre 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 characteristic, according to some slightly neo-liberal, criticism of the labour laws has changed towards conserving the Swedish model and a careful embracing of balance on the labour market.[19]

The party is in favour of Swedish membership of NATO, but will not push for NATO membership in the near future.

Voter base

Moderate Party results by group,
VALU 2010[20]
Group Votes
Avg. result
+/− (pp)
Business owners 40 +11
White-collar workers 34 +5
Private sector employees 34 +5
Males 32 +3
Employed persons 32 +3
Aged 31–64 31 +2
Members of TCO 29 0
Aged 65+ 28 -1
Farmers 28 -1
Members of SACO 28 -1
Females 26 -3
Government employees 24 -5
Aged 18–21 23 -6
Aged 22–30 23 -6
Unemployed 23 -6
First-time voters 23 -6
Public sector employees 22 -7
Students 21 -8
Local government employees 21 -8
Raised outside Sweden 20 -9
Blue-collar workers 19 -10
Members of LO 16 -13
On sick leave 14 -15
All groups (total) 29 0
Moderate Party results by constituency,
2010 parliamentary election[21]
Constituency Votes
Avg. result
+/− (pp)
Stockholm County 39.96 +9.9
Skåne County South 38.46 +8.4
Halland County 34.71 +4.65
Stockholm Municipality 34.29 +4.23
Skåne County West 33.80 +3.74
Västra Götaland County West 32.82 +2.76
Malmö Municipality 32.62 +2.56
Skåne County North and East 32.04 +1.98
Gothenburg Municipality 30.37 +0.31
Uppsala County 30.11 +0.05
Kronoberg County 29.84 -0.22
Östergötland County 28.65 -1.41
Västra Götaland County South 28.33 -1.73
Södermanland County 27.94 -2.12
Västra Götaland County East 27.91 -2.15
Blekinge County 27.34 -2.72
Västmanland County 27.14 -2.92
Västra Götaland County North 26.95 -3.11
Kalmar County 26.90 -3.16
Jönköping County 26.74 -3.32
Värmland County 25.72 -4.34
Gotland County 25.18 -4.88
Dalarna County 25.11 -4.95
Örebro County 24.01 -6.05
Gävleborg County 23.14 -6.92
Jämtland County 22.20 -7.86
Västernorrland County 21.60 -8.46
Västerbotten County 17.69 -12.37
Norrbotten County 16.38 -13.68
Sweden (total) 30,06 0

The table on the left shows the Moderate Party's percentage of votes and difference compared to the overall result among some selected groups in the 2010 parliamentary election, according to a polling station survey (VALU 2010) conducted by Sveriges Television.[20]

The table on the right shows the party's percentage of votes and difference compared to the overall result in the 2010 parliamentary election by geographic constituency, according to the official election result given by the Swedish Election Authority.[21]

Those groups/areas where the party's support is higher than among the overall population are marked in green, while those groups/areas where the party's support is lower than among the overall population are marked in red.

As shown from the table, the five groups where the Moderate Party has its highest level of support are: company owners (40%), civil servants (34%), private sector employees (34%), males (32%) and wage laborers (32%).[20] The five groups where the party has its lowest level of support are: people on sick leave (14%), members of the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO, 16%), laborers (19%), people raised outside Sweden (20%) and local government employees (21%).[20]

Geographically, the Moderate Party has its highest level of support in the urban areas of Stockholm County, western and southern Sweden, while the support in sparsely populated areas (especially in northern Sweden) is weaker. The five constituencies where the party has its highest level of support are: Stockholm County (39.96%), Skåne County South (38.46%), Halland County (34.71%), Stockholm Municipality (34.29%) and Skåne County West (33.80%).[21] The five constituencies where the party has its lowest level of support are: Norrbotten County (16.38%), Västerbotten County (17.69%), Västernorrland County (21.60%), Jämtland County (22.20%) and Gävleborg County (23.14%).[21]

The Moderate Party voters ranked the following issues as the five most important for their decision in the 2010 election:[20]

  1. Swedish economy
  2. Employment
  3. Private economy
  4. Schools and education
  5. Taxes

The Moderate Party also has the largest share of voters who identify as "right-wing"; 83% of the party's voters identify as "right-wing", 2% as "left-wing" and 14% as "neither right-wing nor left-wing".[20]

Furthermore, the Moderate Party, along with the Centre Party, also has the largest share of voters (83%) who say that they have "big/relatively big confidence in Swedish politicians" (average was 70%).[20]

Electoral history

Parliament (Riksdag)

Election year # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Government
1958 750,332 19.5 (#2)
45 / 233
Increase 3 in opposition
1960 704,365 16.6 (#3)
39 / 233
Decrease 6 in opposition
1964 582,609 13.7 (#4)
33 / 233
Decrease 6 in opposition
1968 621,031 12.9 (#4)
32 / 233
Decrease 1 in opposition
1970 573,812 11.5 (#4)
41 / 350
Increase 9 in opposition
1973 737,584 14.3 (#3)
51 / 350
Increase 10 in opposition
1976 847,672 15.6 (#3)
55 / 349
Increase 4 in coalition
1979 1,108,406 20.3 (#2)
73 / 349
Increase 18 in coalition
1982 1,313,337 23.6 (#2)
86 / 349
Increase 13 in opposition
1985 1,187,335 21.3 (#2)
76 / 349
Decrease 10 in opposition
1988 983,226 18.3 (#2)
66 / 349
Decrease 10 in opposition
1991 1,199,394 21.9 (#2)
80 / 349
Increase 14 in coalition
1994 1,243,253 22.4 (#2)
80 / 349
Steady 0 in opposition
1998 1,204,926 22.9 (#2)
82 / 349
Increase 2 in opposition
2002 791,660 15.1 (#2)
55 / 349
Decrease 27 in opposition
2006 1,456,014 26.2 (#2)
97 / 349
Increase 42 in coalition
2010 1,791,766 30.1 (#2)
107 / 349
Increase 10 in coalition
2014 1,403,630 23.2 (#2)
84 / 349
Decrease 23 in opposition

European Parliament

Election year # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
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


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 [22] Each county or city association sends delegates to the party congress, which is held every third year.[23] The 200 congress delegates elects a party chairman, two deputy party chairmen, and members of the party board.[23] The party board appoints a party secretary.[23]

In December 2009 the party's reported membership was 55,612 people, the second largest membership after the Social Democrats.[1]

Affiliated organizations

The Moderate Party has the following affiliated groups and organizations:



First deputy party chairpersons (since 1935)

Second deputy party chairpersons (since 1935)

Party secretaries (since 1949)

National ombudsmen (1909–1965)

Prime Ministers

See also


  1. 1 2 Cederholm, Robert; Eliasson, Anders (15 March 2010). "Partierna tappar medlemmar". Sveriges Television. Archived from the original on 15 May 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
  2. Sweden. Parties and Elections in Europe.
  3. Petrakis, Panagiotis E.; Kostis, Pantelis C.; Valsamis, Dionysis G. (2014-01-04). European Economics and Politics in the Midst of the Crisis: From the Outbreak of the Crisis to the Fragmented European Federation. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9783642413445.
  4. "2014: Val till landstingsfullmäktige - Valda", Valmyndigheten, 2014-09-28
  5. "2014: Val till kommunfullmäktige - Valda", Valmyndigheten, 2014-09-26
  6. Peter Viggo Jakobsen (2006). Nordic Approaches to Peace Operations: A New Model in the Making?. Taylor & Francis. p. 184. ISBN 978-0-415-38360-8.
  7. Anja Timm (2008). "Practices of Transparency: exporting Swedish business culture to the Baltic states". In Christina Garsten; Monica Lindh De Montoya. Transparency in a New Global Order: Unveiling Organizational Visions. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 43. ISBN 978-1-84844-135-4.
  8. Björn Wittrock (2012). "The Making of Sweden". In Johann Pall Arnason; Bjorn Wittrock. Nordic Paths to Modernity. Berghahn Books. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-85745-270-2.
  9. Hariz Halilovich (2013). Places of Pain: Forced Displacement, Popular Memory and Trans-local Identities in Bosnian War-torn Communities. Berghahn Books. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-85745-777-6.
  10. "Det konservativa partiet gick bakåt ända fram till 1950-talet, nu med namnet Högern (1934–52) och Högerpartiet (1952–69)." which translates approximately to "The conservative party decreased all the way until the 1950's, now under the name The Right (1934-52) and The Right (Wing) Party (1952-69)" - at
  11. Tandstad, Bent (18 September 2006). "Ein ny æra i svensk politikk". NRK.
  12. Klaus Misgeld; Karl Molin (1 November 2010). Creating Social Democracy: A Century of the Social Democratic Labor Party in Sweden. Penn State Press. p. 430. ISBN 0-271-04344-X.
  13. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 July 2014. Retrieved 2013-08-27.
  15. Norberg, J. (1999). Den svenska Liberalismens historia. Timbro. ISBN 91-7566-429-1.
  16. Jennifer Lees-Marshment; Chris Rudd; Jesper Stromback (16 October 2009). Global Political Marketing. Routledge. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-135-26140-5.
  17. Nanna Kildal; Stein Kuhnle (7 May 2007). Normative Foundations of the Welfare State: The Nordic Experience. Routledge. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-134-27282-2.
  18. Archived 29 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  19. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Holmberg, Sören; Näsman, Per; Wänström, Kent (2010). Riksdagsvalet 2010 Valu (PDF) (Report). Sveriges Television. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 June 2011. Retrieved 2010-09-30.
  20. 1 2 3 4 "Val till riksdagen - Röster" (in Swedish). Swedish Election Authority. 23 September 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  21. "Om moderaterna" (in Swedish). Moderate Party. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
  22. 1 2 3 "Moderata samlingspartiet". Nationalencyklopedin Multimedia 2000 (in Swedish). Höganäs: Bra Böcker. 2000. ISBN 91-7133-747-4.
  23. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 "Kort partihistorik" (in Swedish). Moderate Party. Archived from the original on 8 May 2010. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
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