Young leader picked by Christian Democrats

Ebba Busch Thor, 28, has been nominated as the new leader of Sweden's centre-right Christian Democrat party, the smallest political group in the Swedish parliament.

Young leader picked by Christian Democrats
Ebba Busch Thor who is set to lead the Christian Democrats. Photo: TT
The politician, who is currently a councillor in the student city Uppsala, north of Stockholm, is set to take over from Göran Hägglund, who was Minister for Health and Social Affairs in the previous coalition government, led by Fredrik Reinfeldt.
He resigned in January after stating that "eleven years as party leader takes its toll".
At a press conference to announce her nomination, Busch Thor told Swedish media: "I am extremely happy and grateful for the confidence that Christian Democrat members and the nomination committee have given me".

Göran Hägglund announced his resignation in January. Photo: TT
Bush Thor added that she planned to promote the party's traditional conservative values and to fight to increase rights for families in Sweden.
Busch Thor still needs to be formally elected by the Christan Democrats at a conference in Stockholm on April 25th, but is currently expected to go unchallenged.
If selected, she will become the youngest current political leader in the Riksdag. Annie Lööf, who is head of the Centre Party and Green Party co-leader Gustav Fridolin, both now 31, were nominated by their respective parties at the same age as Busch Thor.
A graduate in Peace and Conflict Studies at Uppsala University, she also grew up in the nearby town of Gunsta and has been active in the Christian Democrats since 2006.
Nominating committee chairwoman Chatrine Pålsson Ahlgren told the news agency TT that it had not been a difficult choice after the other finalist in the race, Jakob Forssmed, dropped out. 
"Ebba is an extremely knowledgeable and competent Christian Democrat. A good captain of the Christian Democrats' ship," she said.
But the 28-year-old takes over a struggling party. The Christian Democrats only just reached the four percent threshold needed to secure seats in the Swedish parliament in the last general election in September 2014, having previously held top ministerial posts as part of the Alliance – the bloc of four centre-right parties that made up Fredrik Reinfeldt's coalition.
“Traditionally, it’s a very religious party, but they have been trying to build wider support for a while now, like the CDU in Germany,” political scientist Jörgen Hermansson at Uppsala University told The Local last month.


Swedish political parties call for ban on conversion therapy

Multiple political parties in Sweden's parliament want to ban so-called conversion therapy, which aims to change young LGBT+ individuals’ sexual orientation.

Swedish political parties call for ban on conversion therapy

The Liberals have campaigned for a ban for some time, and a motion has now been submitted to parliament by the Social Democrats. Now, the Moderates and the Centre Party are joining them in calling for conversion therapy to be made illegal, Sweden’s public broadcaster Radio Ekot reports.

“The entire idea is that homosexuality is an illness which can and should be treated. That is, obviously, completely incorrect and a very out-of-place view in a modern society,” Centre’s spokesperson on legal issues, Johan Hedin, told the radio.

Conversion therapy consists of subjecting LGBT+ individuals to pressure or force to hide their sexuality or gender identity. According to MUCF, the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society, it occurs “to a not insignificant extent” in Sweden.

“We think there should be a ban. Sweden should be a tolerant country, where nonsense like this quite simply shouldn’t be allowed to happen,” Johan Forssell, the Moderate’s legal spokesperson told Radio Ekot.