Infighting threatens Moderate Party: report

Party Secretary Kent Persson is at the centre of internal division within the governing Moderate Party as it battles declining voter support with one year until elections, a Swedish media report claimed on Monday.

Infighting threatens Moderate Party: report

“If you are any sort of winner, it is not Kent Persson you want to work for,” a source told the Dagens Industri business daily, commenting on a perceived lack of impetus following the departure of celebrated spin doctor Per Schlingman.

Persson succeeded Sofia Arkelsten in the spring of 2012. Arkelsten, mired in controversy over a paid research trip and an inaccurate claim that her party had historically pushed for Swedish women’s suffrage, had only been in the post two years after taking over from Schlingmann, the mastermind of the Moderates’ recent election successes.

Lars-Ingvar Ljungman, chairman of the Moderates in the Skåne region, has been one of the few senior party figures prepared to openly criticize Persson, but discontent was reported to be broadly held.

“I am particularly worried about how our campaign organization looks and works. What I have seen so far has not impressed me,” Ljungman told the newspaper.

According to Dagens Industri, there has been a slew of departures from the Moderate Party headquarters since Persson’s appointment in April 2012. One of the most significant was the vice-party secretary Gunilla Sjöberg, who resigned, reportedly in protest, in the autumn 2012.

The party headquarters has now been left without most of the figures who worked there during the successful election campaigns in 2006 and 2010. According to one source, the problem has widely been cited to be Persson.

“When we had Per Schlingmann it was a very attractive place to work,” an anonymous source reminisced.

With the Moderates stuck in a pattern of waning support in the opinion polls, the mood within the party was reported to becoming impatient.

“If the campaign organization isn’t working, we won’t win the election,” Lars-Ingvar Ljungman observed.

Ljungman recognized, however, that swapping the party secretary again this close to an election would be risky, but still argued that help was required.

“Reinforcements are needed to ensure that the organization works better,” he said.

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