Former minister nominated as speaker

Moderate Party politician Per Westerberg is to be put forward by the new government as its candidate for speaker of the Riksdag.

Currently deputy speaker, Westerberg is set to be supported by the leaders of all four parties in the centre-right Alliance, which takes office this week. Moderate leader and incoming prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt revealed the choice of speaker at a meeting of Moderate parliamentarians on Sunday.

Reinfeldt also said that a Social Democrat would take the post of first deputy speaker. The other two deputy speaker posts would go to the Centre Party and the Liberal party.

Reinfeldt did not put forward any names for the latter two posts, but said that “the whole of our Alliance will support the names that the Centre and Liberal parties put forward.”

Westerberg himself said he was prepared for the job and believed that he would be chosen by the Riksdag.

“I represent the parties of the Alliance, and given the speaker’s position in Sweden, it is the majority that chooses the speaker,”he said, adding that he had thoughts and plans for how the Riksdag could improve and modernise the way it works. He refused to elaborate further on his plans.

Per Westerberg was born in 1951 and has been a Moderate Party member of parliament since 1979. He was minister for industry in the centre-right government of 1991-94. He has also been chairman of the industry committee and environment and agriculture committee in the Swedish parliament, and deputy chairman of the traffic committee. He trained as an economist.

The Riksdag will vote on nominations for speaker on Monday. Social Democrat Jan Björkman is likely to be chosen as first deputy speaker. Current Social Democrat speaker Björn von Sydow is first on his party’s list, but he will withdraw from the race if and when he does not get the top job, his spokeswoman Anna Wieslander said.

The Liberal Party’s parliamentary group has nominated Liselott Hagberg as third deputy speaker.