• Sweden edition

Profile: Fredrik Reinfeldt, the Alliance's clean-up man

Published: 13 Sep 2006 19:04 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Sep 2006 19:04 GMT+02:00

He has remodeled the party into the "New Moderates", turning it around to present the toughest challenge to the governing Social Democrats in years in Sunday's legislative election.

Like Tony Blair who moved Britain's Labour Party from the left toward the middle, Reinfeldt has shifted his party away from its right-wing upper class roots to appeal to a larger swathe of voters near the centre, where the electorate in traditionally Social Democratic Sweden tends to swarm.

"He is gentle, pensive and a good listener. His cool, soft-spoken approach goes down well with voters," Henrik Brors, editorialist at leading daily Dagens Nyheter, told AFP.

"His election strategy is to steal votes from the right-wing of the Social Democrats," Brors said.

Reinfeldt took over the leadership of the Moderates in October 2003 after a disastrous election the year before, in which the party plunged from 23 percent of votes to just 15 percent.

Since then he has toned down the party's image as a threat to Swedes' cherished cradle-to-grave welfare state, and styled himself after former US president Bill Clinton.

The move worked. Ahead of the election, polls suggest the Moderates could garner between 23 and 30 percent of votes.

But Reinfeldt himself says his is not a party of visionaries.

"We're not advocates of a Great Leap Forward. Society is what people make of it, and not something that is decided from the top down," he said in a recent newspaper interview.

Reinfeldt was born on August 4th, 1965, the eldest of three children with two working parents.

Pia Ohlin

He earned a business degree before launching his political career, becoming the head of the party's youth wing in 1992.

Unlike many older politicians, he grew up in a Sweden heavily marked by the welfare society created by the Social Democrats in the postwar period, where high taxes finance state-run daycares, health care, schools, youth sports movements, and so on.

"He is credible when he says he wants to maintain the Swedish model. He grew up with the system and knows its good sides," Brors said.

While previous Moderate leaders such as Carl Bildt called for major tax cuts which would slash funding for the welfare state, Reinfeldt has not.

Instead he has defended the system but called for changes. He has accused the Social Democrats of resting on their laurels, in particular when it comes to bringing down unemployment.

Reinfeldt has proposed cutting taxes for the lowest wage earners and reducing unemployment benefits, to give the jobless an incentive to work.

"Göran Persson leads a subsidies party and we are the new workers' party," Reinfeldt has reiterated throughout the campaign.

He has also been instrumental in uniting the notoriously-divided four-party centre-right opposition.

For the first time ever, the four this year presented a joint election manifesto.

Reinfeldt is married to Filippa, a city councillor in the Stockholm suburb of Täby where they live. They have three children aged 6 to 13.

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Swedes insist EU prioritize environment

Swedes insist EU prioritize environment

An EU public opinion poll released on Friday revealed that Sweden is the only nation which thinks the environment should be a top priority for the union. READ  

Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'
File photo: TT

Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'

Police in Gothenburg have confirmed that sex trafficking in the city has developed into a full-blown slave trade - but that they lack the resources to do anything about it. READ  

Pirate Bay inmate claims religious persecution
Photo: TT/The Missionary Church of Kopimism

Pirate Bay inmate claims religious persecution

Peter Sunde has complained that his religious rights have been impinged after he was refused permission to meet a representative of a church inspired by the keyboard shortcuts for cut and paste. READ  

Stockholm 'bomb man' jailed and deported
Police at the scene of the threat in June. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Stockholm 'bomb man' jailed and deported

The 43-year-old man who threatened Stockholm's Gamla Stan with a bomb in June was sentenced on Friday to two years in jail, followed by deportation. READ  

Swedish police: 'We're sweaty all the time'
Swedish cops are unhappy with the heat. Photo: Håkan Dahlström/Flickr

Swedish police: 'We're sweaty all the time'

Swedish weather agencies say the summer's warmest day is yet to come, but police in the north have decided that they can't take the heat - and filed a report about the own stifling police station. READ  

SAS resumes flights from Stockholm to Tel Aviv
File photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

SAS resumes flights from Stockholm to Tel Aviv

SAS Scandinavian Airlines has resumed flights from Stockholm to Tel Aviv after the airline completed a 'thorough security analysis' of the situation in Israel. READ  

Swedish man stabs woman and kills himself
A Stockholm police car. File photo: TT

Swedish man stabs woman and kills himself

A man and a woman, reported to be both 45-years-old, were found dead on Thursday in an apartment on Lidingö in Stockholm with police suspecting a murder and suicide. READ  

Police fear arson after Sweden mosque fire
Central Norrköping in eastern Sweden. Photo: Stefan Vilcans

Police fear arson after Sweden mosque fire

Swedish police suspect arson after buildings at a mosque in Norrköping in eastern Sweden burned down in the early hours of Friday morning. READ  

'Moving wasn't a choice, Sweden called to me'

'Moving wasn't a choice, Sweden called to me'

Caught in an identity limbo and surrounded by often apathetic "love refugees", The Local's resident Swedophile Solveig Rundquist wonders if she's the only expat who moved to Sweden for the culture alone. READ  

Swedish inmates to receive digital tablets
Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Swedish inmates to receive digital tablets

Sweden's Prison and Probation Services are beginning a project in which suspected criminals will be given surf tablets to look at evidence against them. READ  

Top ten Swedish taboos
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
Blog updates

24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »


22 July

Det (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! “Det” is a personal pronoun that can be used in many ways, and it might me confusing if you always translate “det” to English “it”. In this article I will do my best to guide you to how to use “det”. Det replacing a word, a phrase or a clause Let us begin with the less confusing..." READ »

Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
What's On in Sweden
People-watching July 23
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
People-watching July 11-13
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at: