• Sweden edition
 
Elections 2014
Sweden elections: Who's who in politics?
Photo: TT/Maja Sushin

Sweden elections: Who's who in politics?

Published: 05 Sep 2014 07:59 GMT+02:00
Updated: 05 Sep 2014 17:36 GMT+02:00

Moderate Party (Moderaterna)

Who: Fredrik Reinfeldt

Age: 48

Current role: Prime Minister of Sweden since 2006

Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

Background: Born and bred in the Swedish capital, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has been in politics since joining the Moderate Party’s youth wing as a teenager and has a degree in Business and Economics from Stockholm University. He is a passionate supporter of the Djurgårdens IF football team and has also written a political science fiction novel. After having three children with his wife Filippa Holmberg, also an active politician in the party, the couple divorced in 2012. His ex-wife still goes by the name of Reinfeldt herself, and is something of an Instagram celebrity.

Party: Following years as the main opposition party in Sweden, the Moderates broke up decades of dominance by the Social Democrats when they came into power in 2006. They formed a centre-right coalition known as the Alliance, with the Centre Party, the Liberal Party and the Christian Democrats. When it lost its majority in 2010, the coalition stayed in power as a minority government.

The Moderates are focused on job creation and cutting taxes. The party has lost support in recent years and was pushed into third place behind the Social Democrats and the Greens in May’s European elections.

Current number of seats: 107

Read The Local's guide to the Alliance's manifesto

Social Democratic Party (Socialdemokraterna)

Who: Stefan Löfven

Age: 56

Current role: Party leader

Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Background: Stefan Löfven isn’t an elected member of parliament and has no previous experience of being a politician. Formerly the head of one of the country’s most powerful unions, IF Metall, he was persuaded to stand for leadership following record low poll ratings for the Social Democrats in 2012. He started his career as a welder after growing up with an adoptive family in Örnsköldsvik, a small industrial area in northern Sweden. Watching his hometown’s ice hockey team and going to the theatre with his wife Ulla Löfven count amongst his hobbies.

Party: The Social Democrats are the oldest and largest party in Sweden and dominated the political landscape until the 1990s. The party promotes workers' rights and built the modern Swedish welfare state, paid for by progressive taxation. It strongly promotes gender equality and takes an active stand against discrimination and racism. After a crushing defeat in 2006, the Social Democrats continued to lose votes in 2010, particularly from Sweden’s urban middle class. But the party has bounced back since Löfven took over as leader and recently came top in May’s European Elections.

Current number of seats: 112

Read The Local's guide to The Social Democrats' manifesto

Green Party (Miljöpartiet)

Who: Gustav Fridolin and Åsa Romson

Ages: 31 and 42

Current role: Joint Green party spokespeople

Photo: Janerik Henriksson/ TT

Background: Gustav Fridolin was the youngest Member of Parliament in Swedish history when he was first elected in 2002. Since then he has taken time away from politics to work as a journalist and a teacher, written three books and got married. He became joint spokesperson for the party in 2011 alongside Åsa Romson, a Stockholm-based lawyer. Romson is single and describes herself as a keen blogger and cyclist.

Party: The Greens first won seats in the Swedish parliament in 1988, becoming the country’s third largest political party by 2010. The party is focused on fighting climate change and promotes policies designed to protect the planet for future generations. The Greens came second in May’s European elections, ahead of the ruling Moderates. The party is against political careerism and actively encourages its members to take time out to try other jobs. It has never been in government but supported the minority Social Democrat government that held power from 1998 to 2006, along with the Left Party.

Current number of seats: 25

Read The Local's guide to The Green Party's manifesto

Liberal Peoples Party (Folkpartiet)

Who: Jan Björklund

Age: 52

Current role: Deputy Prime Minister

Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Background: A former major in the Swedish army, Jan Björklund first became a Member of Parliament in 2006. He was chosen as Deputy Prime Minister after his party emerged as the second largest in the government coalition following the 2010 general election. Originally from the west coast of Sweden, he now lives in Bromma in Stockholm with his wife and two sons. He says he cries easily, makes good pancakes and enjoys listening to Frank Sinatra.

Party: The Liberal Party is the fourth largest in the Swedish parliament and has been part of the centre-right alliance with the Moderates since 2006. Its core supporters are middle-class voters. The party is focused on improving education, encouraging more open immigration, joining NATO and nuclear expansion. It also promotes what it calls ‘”feminism without socialism”, aiming to secure equal opportunities by investing in work sectors dominated by women and encouraging men to share childcare responsibilities. The Liberals lost votes in May’s European elections.

Current number of seats: 24

Read The Local's guide to the Alliance's manifesto

Centre Party (Centerpartiet)

Who: Annie Lööf

Age: 31

Current role: Minister for Enterprise

Photo: Fredrik Persson/TT

Background: Annie Lööf became MP for Jönköping County in southern Sweden when she was just 23 years old. She followed her father Hans-Göran Johansson’s footsteps into politics; he is also a Centre Party politician and is the current mayor of Värnamo Municipality. Lööf was selected to become leader of the party in 2011 and is Minister for Enterprise in the current Alliance. She has a degree in law and lives in Nacka, Stockholm, with her husband.

Party: The Centre Party has rural roots, emerging from Sweden’s Farmers' League, which was set up more than one hundred years ago. Agricultural and environmental issues remain key concerns alongside allowing local communities to make their own decisions. More recently the party has tried to attract urban voters by promising help for small businesses. It is one of the smaller parties in the centre-right governing coalition.

Current number of seats: 23

Read The Local's guide to the Alliance's manifesto

Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna)

Who: Jimmie Åkesson

Age: 35

Current role: Party leader

Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Background: An early entrant into politics, Jimmie Åkesson began his career as a city councillor in his hometown, Sölvesborg in southern Sweden, after joining the party’s youth wing as a teenager. He has also worked as a web designer. Åkesson has led the party since 2005 and still lives in his home city along with his partner, baby son and three cats. He says the Godfather Trilogy is his favourite movie box set.

Party: The nationalist Sweden Democrats were founded in 1988, evolving from far-right organisations with neo-Nazi roots. In recent years the party has worked to tone down its image as a racist and extremist group although cutting immigration remains its main goal.

The Sweden Democrats currently describe themselves as neither right nor left wing and say they support a strong welfare state alongside traditional conservative values. They also promise to take a tough stand against crime and to guarantee a dignified retirement for older people.

The party got its first seats in Sweden’s parliament in the last election in 2010. It also secured its first two seats in the European Parliament in May 2014.

Current number of seats: 20

Read The Local's guide to the Sweden Democrats' manifesto

Left Party (Vänsterpartiet)

Who: Jonas Sjöstedt

Age: 49

Current role: Party leader

Photo: Anna Karin Drugge/TT

Background: Born in Gothenburg, Jonas Sjöstedt is a former metal worker who has also worked in Strasbourg and Brussels as a Member of the European Parliament and in New York where he wrote for left wing magazines and newspapers. He has been a Member of Parliament in Sweden since 2010. Sjöstedt is married to Swedish diplomat Ann Måwe who is part of the Swedish delegation to the United Nations.

Party: As its name suggests, The Left Party is the most left-wing group in the Swedish parliament. It has a long history and described itself as communist until the 1990s. The Left Party has never served in government but alongside the Greens it supported the minority Social Democrat government that held power from 1998 to 2006.The party is against the privatisation of public companies and supports higher taxes to fund Sweden’s welfare state.

Current seats: 19

Read The Local's guide to the Left Party's policies

Christian Democrats (Kristdemokraterna)

Who: Göran Hägglund

Age: 55

Current role: Minister for Health and Social Affairs

Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Background: After working for the Christian Democratic Youth organisation and as a councillor in Jönköping in southern Sweden, Göran Hägglund had a break from politics to work in insurance. He was later elected to the Swedish parliament in 2001, became party leader in 2004 and has served as Minister for Health and Social Affairs since 2006. Married with two children, he has a strong Christian faith, in contrast to many politicians in Sweden, which is one of the most atheist countries in the world.

Party: The Christian Democrats are a right wing, conservative group. They won their first seats in parliament in 1985, two decades after the party was set up. The party supports cutting taxes and reducing the number of regulations on companies. Improving elderly care and increasing child benefits are other key policies. Despite its religious background, the party has a pro-choice approach to abortion and backed the introduction of gay marriage in Sweden. It is the smallest party in the centre-right governing coalition and polls suggest it could struggle to maintain the 4 per cent vote threshold needed to secure seats in the next parliament.

Current seats: 19

Read The Local's guide to the Alliance's manifesto

Feminist Initiative (Feministiska initiativet)

Who: Gudrun Schyman

Age: 66

Current role: Party spokesperson

Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Background: After leading the Left Party for a decade, Gudrun Schyman helped form the Feminist Initiative in 2005, arguing that issues as such sexual discrimination and violence against women needed to take centre stage. She famously burned 100,000 SEK in a protest about the gender pay gap in 2010. A candid politician, she has admitted battling with alcoholism and avoiding taxes. Outside the party she has worked as a consultant and entrepreneur. She lives in Stockholm and has a son with Swedish filmmaker Lars Vestman.

Party: The Feminist Initiative argues that Sweden’s image as a tolerant, equal society isn’t a reality. It wants women and men to be entitled to the same rights, opportunities and responsibilities. The party also speaks out against racial discrimination and violence and wants to stop all military spending and arms exports by Sweden. After competing in two elections the party has yet to win a seat in the national parliament, but it had an historic victory in the European Parliamentary elections as Swedes voted in the EU’s first feminist MEP, Soraya Post.

Current number of seats: 0

Read The Local's guide to the Feminist party's manifesto

Pirate Party (Piratpartiet)

Who: Anna Troberg

Age: 40

Current role: Party leader

Photo: Janerik Henriksson

Background: Working in publishing, Anna Troberg was initially opposed to The Pirate Party’s criticism of copyright and patent laws and challenged its members on her blog. She then decided she agreed with their ideas and went on to join the group, becoming leader in 2009. Troberg also works as an author and she has translated several books including British celebrity Sharon Osbourne’s biography Extreme. She lives in Stockholm with her girlfriend and four cats and says she enjoys reading and listening to Dolly Parton in her spare time.

Party: The Pirate Party was founded in 2006 as a response to changes in communication in the Internet age. It promotes sharing online films and music that are currently copyrighted, as long as this is done without making a profit. The party argues that this kind of access will spread culture and knowledge and improve society. Personal privacy is also a core value; it is against government retention of digital data and supports the work of Wikileaks. The party has yet to win a seat in a national election and lost its two seats in the European Parliament in May 2014.

Current number of seats: 0

For more stories about Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Maddy Savage (maddy.savage@thelocal.com)

Today's headlines
Swede Stenson on track for Dubai defence
Photo: TT

Swede Stenson on track for Dubai defence

Swedish world number four Henrik Stenson is on course to successfully defend his title at the DP World Tour Championship, the red-hot Rafael Cabrera-Bello may still pose a threat after Saturday's third round. READ  

Stolen ancient gold rings returned by post
A Swedish postman. Photo: TT

Stolen ancient gold rings returned by post

A collection of gold rings which date back some 3,000 years mysteriously turned up at the offices of a Swedish newspaper on Friday after they had gone missing from a museum collection. READ  

Up to 300 Swedes fighting with Isis: report
Photo: TT

Up to 300 Swedes fighting with Isis: report

As many as 300 Swedes could have joined the Islamic State insurgency, Sweden's intelligence chief said Saturday. READ  

Body of Irishman found in Stockholm
Stockholm's Old Town in the rain. Photo: TT

Body of Irishman found in Stockholm

The body of an Irishman who had been missing since November 10th was found in the harbour by Stockholm's Old Town on Thursday, it has emerged. READ  

Ibrahimovic returns as PSG claim top spot
Photo: TT

Ibrahimovic returns as PSG claim top spot

Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his first start for two months as Ligue 1 Champions Paris Saint-Germain went top for the first time this season with a 3-2 win at mid-table Metz on Friday night READ  

Julian Assange
Ecuador 'guarantees' Assange asylum
Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012. Screen grab: SVT

Ecuador 'guarantees' Assange asylum

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was on Friday guaranteed political asylum by Ecuador for "as long as necessary," one day after he lost an appeal against a Swedish warrant for his arrest. READ  

Abba's Björn defends Sweden's Spotify
Swedish artist Laleh alongside Björn Ulvaeus. Photo: Björn Ulvaeus

Abba's Björn defends Sweden's Spotify

Björn Ulvaeus has joined the row over Spotify's streaming costs, saying the music industry had to evolve but admitting that songwriters are losing money. He spoke to The Local's blogger Natalia Brzezinski from his newly adopted home, New York. READ  

Dark weekend looms for southern Sweden
Stockholm City Hall under the cover of clouds. Photo: TT

Dark weekend looms for southern Sweden

Southern Sweden looks set to stay under a blanket of cloud until at least Tuesday, as the darkest November in decades continues. READ  

Gothenburg rabbi reacts to death threats
Rabbi Hillel Ḥayyim Lavery-Yisraëli. Photo: Private

Gothenburg rabbi reacts to death threats

Gothenburg's rabbi received death threats following an attack on a synagogue in Jerusalem earlier this week. Leading figures in the Jewish community have told The Local they fear that anti-Semitism is spreading across Sweden, with Malmö already a key target. READ  

Rush hour chaos after train signal failure
The signal failure is affecting the service between Södertälje and Stockholm. Photo: Thomas Eneborg/TT

Rush hour chaos after train signal failure

Passengers travelling to and from the Swedish capital were forced to make alternative travel arrangements on Friday morning after a signal failure ground the rail service between Södertälje and Stockholm to a standstill. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
What's on in Sweden: November 20th to 27th
Lifestyle
How to make Swedish mulled wine
Lifestyle
How an Umeå museum is rewriting Swedish history
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Family life in Stockholm
Blog updates

21 November

Editor’s Blog, November 21st (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello from Stockholm, Our week started with reports another Russian plane had been spotted in Sweden’s airspace,..." READ »

 

21 November

Exclusive Interview with Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"Most of us will agree that actions speak louder than words. But when the two are..." READ »

 
 
 
Lifestyle
Five unique backpacker hostels in Stockholm
National
How to boost your career in Skåne, Sweden's south
National
Bones show off Sweden's history
National
What new word are Swedes voting on?
National
Why African Swedes are angry about Santa's helper
National
Pine, tar, and tinder: flavours from the north
Gallery
Selfies, solidarity and Hillary Clinton: Stefan Löfven on tour
Gallery
People-watching: November 19th
Society
Why are international professionals leaving Sweden?
Business & Money
Meet the Swedes who made suits for The Hunger Games
Technology
'I'm among the first Swedes with a microchip'
National
What is Sweden doing about bird flu?
Gallery
Property of the week: Eriksberg
National
Vecka45: Sweden's most innovative week
Gallery
In Pictures: The clubs and loves of Sweden's Sven-Göran Eriksson
Society
What's On in Sweden: November 13th to 20th
Gallery
People-watching: November 16th
National
Driving (expats) home for Christmas?
Lifestyle
Make your own Swedish pea soup
Politics
"Totally unacceptable": Defence Minister on Stockholm submarine
Society
The A-Ö guide to making life in Sweden easier
National
How a Swedish party inspired a masterpiece
National
Seen the new Ace of Base yet?
National
Meet the Irish woman thundering into Swedish rock
Gallery
In Pictures: Ace of Base through the years
Society
Ten things you should never say to a Swede
Gallery
People-watching: November 12th
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
National
Opinion: 'We have to talk about Sweden's Isis fighters'
Business & Money
Price hike for new mortgages in Sweden
National
Toy store catalogues 'too white' in Sweden
National
Pirate Bay co-founder released from prison
National
Southern Sweden had 201 days of summer
Gallery
Sweden's ten most powerful people
Gallery
Property of the week: Mariestad
National
Introducing... Healthcare in Stockholm
National
What you need to know about Stockholm hospital bug epidemic
Lifestyle
Young Serbian shouts for students in Sweden
Lifestyle
How to make your own chocolate kladdkaka
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
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

819
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:
swedishdowntown.com
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:
psdmedia.se
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.
aa-europe.org/sweden
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists
Click here for the full job description