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POLITICS

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.

2022 SWEDISH ELECTION

Sweden’s right-wing parties agree to bring back Norlén as Speaker 

The four parties backing Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson as prime minister on Sunday announced that they had agreed to keep the current Speaker, Andreas Norlén in place, when the role is put to a vote as parliament opens on Monday.

Sweden's right-wing parties agree to bring back Norlén as Speaker 

The parties won a three-seat majority over the bloc led by the incumbent Social Democrats in Sweden’s general election on September 11th, and are currently in the middle of negotiating how they will form Sweden’s next government. 

Sweden’s parliament meets at 11am for the official installation of the 349 MPs for this mandate period. The votes for the Speaker and three Deputy Speakers are the first item on the agenda, after which the parties each select their parliamentary leaders and then vote on who should chair each of the parliamentary committees. 

READ ALSO: What happens next as parliament reopens? 

In a joint press release announcing the decision, the parties also agreed that the Sweden Democrats would be given eight of the 16 chairmanships the bloc will have of parliamentary committees in the next parliament, and that MPs for all four parties would back Julia Kronlid, the Sweden Democrats’ Second Deputy Leader, as the second deputy Speaker, serving under Norlén. 

In the press release, the parties said that Norlén had over the last four years shown that he has “the necessary personal qualities and qualifications which the role requires”. 

The decision to retain Norlén, who presided over the 134 days of talks and parliamentary votes that led to the January Agreement in 2019, was praised by Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson. 

Norlén, she said in a statement, had “managed his responsibilities well over the past four years and been a good representative of Sweden’s Riksdag.” 

The decision to appoint Kronlid was opposed by both the Left Party and the Green Party, who said that she supported tightening abortion legislation, and did not believe in evolution.

The Green Party’s joint leader Märta Stenevi said that her party “did not have confidence in Julia Kronlid”, pointing to an interview she gave in 2014 when she said she did not believe that humans were descended from apes.

The party has proposed its finance spokesperson Janine Alm Ericson as a rival candidate. 

The Left Party said it was planning to vote for the Centre Party’s candidate for the post second deputy Speaker in the hope of blocking Kronlid as a candidate.

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