Christian Democrats (Sweden)
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The Christian Democrats (Swedish: Kristdemokraterna [ˈkrɪ̂sːtdɛmʊˌkrɑːtɛɳa] (listen); KD) is a Christian-democratic political party in Sweden founded in March 1964. It first entered parliament in 1985, through electoral cooperation with the Centre Party, and in 1991 broke through to win seats by itself. The party leader since 25 April 2015 has been Ebba Busch. She succeeded Göran Hägglund, who had been leader since 2004.
The party name was for a long time abbreviated to KDS (standing for Kristen demokratisk samling , Christian Democratic Unity), until 1996, when the party changed its name to the current Christian Democrats and its abbreviation to KD.
The KD was a
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According to the party their five most important policy issues include:
- Healthcare: reform the healthcare system and nationalise Swedish healthcare. Improve care guarantee. Reform the queue billion. Save LSS.
- Elderly care: retirement home guarantee as well as an abolished pensions tax. The KD also supports housing supplements for the elderly. The Christian Democrats especially emphasize the elderly's right to a dignified life and want to introduce a higher standard for nursing homes.
- Safety: more police officers and more resources to the police. The party also supports law and order policies, such as increasing resources for the police and stricter laws against sexual crimes and honor killings.
- Family: enable more time for the children, facilitate family formation, increase families' room for maneuver, upgrade parenthood, enable different forms of childcare and strengthen the finances of families with children. The party supports freedom of choice of parents for education and increased resources for schools in deprived areas.
- Integration: according to the party, jobs are one of the keys to good integration and that a society is built on a common set of values, where certain values are immutable.
KD's platform and policies have been shaped by the tenets of Christian democracy, stewardship, and the shared responsibility between the church and political institutions, the responsibility of solidarity towards fellow human beings and the safeguarding of civil society, permeated with socially and culturally conservative values.
The KD support reducing petrol prices and abolishing property tax. The KD supports the monarchy.
The Christian Democrats want a flexible immigration policy, but one that is regulated and controlled. The party names a Nordic level when it comes to immigration, meaning the amount of refugees that enter Sweden should be at the same level as in the other Nordic countries. The KD also calls for a socially just but efficient asylum policy in which resources can be allocated to those in need in tandem with faster screening and quicker deportation of those who fail or abuse the asylum claiming processes, as well as increased spending on border patrol police. It also wants to introduce a special integration committee in the Riksdag and compulsory measures for refugees to learn Swedish and adopt Swedish customs and social norms. Since 2018, the party has pledged a tougher line against immigration and multiculturalism, including opposing the Islamic call to prayer in public spaces.
On foreign policy, the KD is largely supportive of Sweden's membership of the European Union. They were in favour of entering the eurozone during the 2003 Swedish euro referendum, but after the “No” side won the referendum in a landslide victory the party changed its stance and are now against joining the eurozone. They are calling for "a narrower and sharper EU" and that "on a number of issues, the EU need to take a step back and give more power back to the nation states”. In the European Parliament, the KD sits with the European People's Party and is a member of Centrist Democrat International internationally which contains other Christian democratic parties.
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Reasons for founding the party
The party had its roots in a movement against the Swedish government's decision in 1963 to remove religious education from the elementary school syllabus. An organisation called "Christian Social Responsibility", which would later become the Christian Democratic Unity, organised several marches against the decision, one of which became one of the largest in Swedish modern history. Despite the public outcry and over 2.1 million protest signatures, the decision went through. The group that had worked in the campaign felt it was a sign that Swedish politics needed a Christian Democratic Party.
The political and social origins of the Swedish Christian Democrats clearly differ from those of the European continental Christian Democratic parties (as in
In the beginning of 1964
Principal Algot Tergel hosted a conference on 7 February of the same year. The topic of the conference was "Christianity and Politics", and during the conference the idea of starting a Christian Democratic Party was discussed. A committee consisting of Pethrus and eight other Free Church leaders was formed.
A large and widespread debate followed the decision to create the committee. Dagen published an interview with Kjell Bondevik, the leader of the Norwegian Christian Democratic Party, and there were talks about creating a Christian Democratic Party in Finland as well.
On 20 March 1964 the party was founded as Christian Democratic Unity (Kristen demokratisk samling). At first it was only an organisation, but at a board meeting later that year it was decided that the organisation would be revamped into a party and that it would compete in the national elections in Sweden. The first roughly 100 members elected Birger Ekstedt to the post of party chair and Lewi Pethrus to the post of vice chair.
The party grew rapidly; by the end of the year it had 14,500 members.
During its early years the KDS was sometimes called the "Air and Water" party because of its strong emphasis on environmental politics. At that time the
At this time the established major parties of Sweden began discussing new ways of making it more difficult for minor parties to enter the Riksdag. In 1971
Birger Ekstedt died in 1972, aged 51, only a few days after having been reelected as the party chair. An emergency congress was called; there Alf Svensson, the relatively unknown chair of the youth wing of the party, was elected chair. Svensson was to become one of the most important figures in modern Swedish politics. In the national elections of 1973 the party gained 1.8% of the vote, the same result as in the two preceding elections.
Before the national elections of 1976 there was a strong call for a change to a right-wing government in Sweden. The organisation "Vote right-wing" was formed to promote the change to a right-wing government. The KDS, however, announced a desire not to be placed on the traditional right-wing/left-wing scale, a measurement system it felt was outdated. Therefore, the "Vote right-wing" organisation started a campaign of negative campaigning against the KDS with the slogan "Don't vote for KDS, don't throw away your vote" as the KDS had not reached the 4% threshold at the last elections. The effect of this large campaign on a small and relatively new party like the KDS was disastrous, and it gained only 1.4% of the vote in the 1976 election.
At the start of the 1980s, the party revamped its entire political manifesto. The party abandoned its conservative stance on abortion and instead assumed a moderate pro-choice stance and adopted a plank to work to lower the total number of abortions in Sweden through encouragement of individual voluntary measures instead. In the 1980
In 1982 the
Way into the Riksdag
As early as 1978 the KDS discussed the idea of electoral cooperation with the Centre Party. Similar ideas were discussed before the 1982 elections but were never put into action. One of the proponents of such a collaboration was the then secretary of information Mats Odell. The party officially took a stance against a socialist government, which effectively put them together with the right-wing block.
The negotiations were difficult, but in 1984 the Centre Party and KDS agreed to run under a joint banner in the next year's elections under the name
The deal, which was heavily criticised by the Swedish Social Democratic Party, meant that each party had its own voting ticket but that the Centre Party should nominate a Christian Democratic candidate on at least five of the regional candidacy lists. The Centre Party ticket would win over the KDS ticket almost everywhere, but this way there would be at least five Christian Democrats in the Riksdag. The Centre Party did not fulfil its promise, however, and put a Christian Democrat on the list only in the municipality of Kalmar. This resulted in great tensions within the Christian Democrats; one of the party icons, the environmental activist Björn Gillberg, left the party. However, Alf Svensson managed to get into the Riksdag through the KDS party ticket in Jönköping.
In 1987 the party manifesto was revamped once again (although not so heavily as the last time), and the party changed its name to Christian Democratic Social Party (
Several famous people joined the party, and in the right-wing breakthrough national elections of 1991 the party grew explosively yet again and gained over 7% of the votes. The right-wing bloc gained a majority, and KDS formed a government with the right-wing bloc. Several Christian Democrats got positions within the new government: Alf Svensson as the minister of foreign aid (and vice foreign minister), Inger Davidson as minister of civilian infrastructure, and Mats Odell as minister of communications.
After the right-wing bloc lost the 1994 general election, the KDS managed to stay in the Riksdag and had assumed a steady position within Swedish national politics. In 1996 it changed its name to the current form, Christian Democrats (Kristdemokraterna), switching the abbreviation form to KD, in a gesture perceived by elements both inside and outside the party as helping deflect the belief that it was a strictly religious party. In 1998 the party had its best elections ever, gaining over 11% of the votes; it established itself as the fourth-largest party in the Riksdag, becoming larger than its former electoral partner the Centre Party. In the 2002 national elections the party got fewer votes but still held on to its position as the fourth-largest party.
In 2004 Svensson stepped down in favor of his long-designated successor Göran Hägglund.
At the end of 2005 the party had 24,202 confirmed members, making it the fourth-largest party in size as well. Its membership is far more stable than most parties in Sweden. The Christian Democrats are represented in almost every municipality and region in Sweden.
The KD has previously held
As a member of the
Hägglund, however, received criticism internally for defending the party's
Decline and internal strife
Support of the Christian Democrats significantly declined in the European elections of 2009, where the former party leader Alf Svensson got the party's sole seat in the European Parliament at the expense of the party's top candidate Ella Bohlin. Though Bohlin had run her campaign with a focus on limiting alcohol and outlawing traditional Swedish snuff, Göran Hägglund stated in a speech two weeks after the elections that he wanted to "prohibit the prohibitions" and spoke about the difference between the values of the "people of reality" and the left-wing cultural elite. Some claim that this was not followed up by any political suggestions in the 2010 general election, where the party declined once again. Hägglund was criticized for not being controversial enough by MP Ebba Busch, and it was suggested that around a quarter of the party's representatives would like him to resign. Other commentators have suggested that the party's decrease in support has coincided with the rise of the Sweden Democrats, who gained the support of socially and culturally conservative Swedish voters.
The politics of the
Election of Ebba Busch
In 2015 the young deputy Mayor of Uppsala Ebba Busch was elected as new party leader. She moved the party towards a new more right-wing and secular position. In the 2018 election she showed herself to be a fierce debater lifting her party from what had been predicted as a sure defeat to the best election result in nearly 20 years.
In 2019 after the new government was announced the KD harhsly criticized the incoming government and the liberal parties supporting it. Too create an alternative to the center-left government the KD opened up to cooperation with the Sweden Democrats This move was popular with the voters and during this period the party saw continually increased support in the opinion polls.
Ahead of the
Ahead of the 2022 election the Christian Democrats continued the party's turn to the right in a number of issues. In migration the party advocates a reduction in the number of refugees let into Sweden by 70%. The party's youth wing, KDU, went out and caused a stir after they proposed repatriation of migrants that have come, and that are coming, to Sweden. Ahead of the Folk och Försvar conference in 2020 the party proposed a doubling of the Swedish Defence budget so that it would meet the 2% of GDP spending each year.
During the 2022 election campaign the party tried to grow by attracting Sweden's rural voters introducing new policies within the area as well as criticizing both the historically agriarian Centre Party and the Social Democrats, accusing them of having abandoned rural Sweden. The party also recruited former parliamentarian for the Centre Party, Staffan Danielsson and made him head of a party-associated organisation for farmers. Their opponents answered these attacks by calling the KD populist - criticising the use of anti-elitist rhetoric and for unhistorical references to a "made up" Swedish heartland.
The election was not a success for the Christian Democrats losing three MP:s. But as a part of the overall center-right coalition that Ebba Busch had been instrumental in creating the party joined the new Kristersson Cabinet. The party received six ministeral portfolios and Ebba Busch was appointed as Deputy Prime Minister.
Ideologically the KD is a centre-right
The party is a member of the European People's Party (EPP) and the Centrist Democrat International (CDI).
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Christian Democratic politicians
|1985–1993||Jan Erik Ågren|
Second vice chairman
|2004–2012||Mats Odell (Minister of Communications 1991–1994)|
|2012–2015||David Lega (MEP 2019-)|
|1978–1985||Per Egon Johansson|
|1989–1991||Inger Davidson (Minister of civil infrastructure 1991–1994)|
|1991–1993||Lars Lindén (MP 2002–2008)|
|1994–2002||Sven Gunnar Persson (MP 2002–2008)|
|2010–2018||Acko Ankarberg Johansson|
Group leader in the Riksdag
Other famous Christian democrats
- Peter Althin, MP and judicial spokesman
- Johan DeFarfalla, former Opethbassist
- Jerzy Einhorn, cancer researcher and MP 1991–1994
- Gert Fylking
- Emma Henriksson
- Carola Häggkvist, singer
- Bert Karlsson
- Mikael Ljungman
- Bror Stefenson, Chairman of the Christian Democratic Senior League
- Anders Wijkman, MEP
- LGB+ organisation
- The foundation Civitas
- Study organisation Framtidsbildarna
- Niels Arbøl, Kristdemokraterna en världsrörelse (Samhällsgemenskap, 1986) ISBN 91-85036-22-6
- Cecilia Hjort Attefall, Partiet som lyfte: 40 år med svensk kristdemokrati: 1964-2004 (Samhällsgemenskap, 2004) ISBN 91-85036-52-8
- Birger Ekstedt, KDS - en politisk nödvändighet (Samhällsgemenskap, 1970)
- Göran V. Johansson, Kristen Demokrati På Svenska (Liber, 1985) ISBN 91-40-05103-X
- Erik Lindfelt, Moralpartiet. En bok om KdS (Carlssons, 1991) ISBN 91-7798-433-1
- Bernt Olsson, Upprinnelsen - Om Kristdemokraternas första tid i Sverige (Samhällsgemenskap, 2004) ISBN 91-85036-56-0
- Allan Sandström, KDS - Partiet bakom fromhetsvallen (LT, 1979) ISBN 91-36-01329-3
- Alf Svensson, I Tiden, från motvind till uppvindar (Samhällsgemenskap, 1984) ISBN 91-85036-10-2
- Kristdemokratisk Debatt (paper published by the party between 1992 and 2003) ISSN 1103-1522
- Alliance for Sweden
- Government of Sweden
- Parliament of Sweden
- Elections in Sweden
- European People's Party
- Madeley, John T.S. (2004). Steven Van Hecke; Emmanuel Gerard (eds.). Life at the Northern Margin: Christian Democracy in Scandinavia. Christian Democratic Parties in Europe Since the End of the Cold War. Leuven University Press. pp. 217–241. ISBN 90-5867-377-4.
- ^ "Tusentals medlemmar lämnade S i fjol – bara SD ökade" [Thousands of members leave S last year – only SD increases]. Nyheter Idag (in Swedish). 30 April 2021. Archived from the original on 24 May 2021. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
- ^ a b Nordsieck, Wolfram (2018). "Sweden". Parties and Elections in Europe. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
- ^ "Kristdemokrater är både konservativa och radikala". VLT (in Swedish). 30 August 2018. Archived from the original on 26 November 2021. Retrieved 26 November 2021.
- ^ "Så blev jägarna en del av KD:s plan för valet". 30 January 2022.
- ^ "KD ska leta väljare i "hjärtlandet"". 24 August 2021.
- ^ "KD utmanar C – vill bli nya landsbygdspartiet". 28 October 2019.
- ISBN 978-1-134-07354-2. Archivedfrom the original on 3 June 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
- https://www.svd.se/kd-gar-till-hoger-men-forslagen-matchar-inte-malet Archived 2021-09-10 at the Wayback Machine
- https://www.svd.se/joda-kd-och-sd-har-en-gemensam-vardegrund Archived 2021-09-10 at the Wayback Machine
- https://nyheteridag.se/kd-om-det-okade-stodet-manniskors-liv-det-handlar-om/ Archived 2021-09-10 at the Wayback Machine
- https://www.svt.se/nyheter/inrikes/analys-forsatt-hogersvang-for-kd-och-ebba-busch-thor Archived 2021-04-26 at the Wayback Machine
- Löfgren, Emma. "Christian Democrat party leadership race heats up". The Local. Archived from the original on 19 July 2018. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
- Kristdemokraterna - Official site (in Swedish)
- Christian Democratic Women's League (in Swedish)
- Christian Democratic Senior League (in Swedish)
- Christian Democratic Youth League (in Swedish)
- Christian Democratic Student League (in Swedish)
- CIVITAS - Christian Democratic Foundation (in Swedish)
- The Christian Democrat - Christian Democratic newspaper on the net (in Swedish)