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Christian Democrats elect first female leader

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Christian Democrats elect first female leader
Photo: TT
13:51 CEST+02:00
Sweden's Christian Democrats on Saturday unanimously elected Ebba Busch Thor as the party's leader, replacing Göran Hägglund. At 28, she's the youngest person to ever lead a Swedish party in parliament.

At a special party conference in Stockholm, Bush Thor received a standing ovation when it as announced she was formally taking the reigns of the Christian Democrats.

“Our best times are before us,” she said after the election, expressing her gratitude and happiness at being asked to lead, as she put it, “Sweden’s best party.”

The Christian Democrats represent traditional conservative principles and often advocate for the rights of families as well as lower taxes. Bush Thor said she would continue to fight for Christian values.

“Let us use good values as a weapon to help us create a society where evil and indifference go into retreat,” she said.

“We will fight for policies that replace egoism with community. We will fight for policies that make the state smaller and the society bigger. We will again, again, and again fight for policies that strengthen families,” she added.

Busch Thor said the Christian Democrats would work to improve the nation’s schools and that there was a need for stricter punishments for violent crime and a stronger defense.

“Let us make sure that the day never comes where Russia frightens us into silence,” she said.

There has been something of a generational change around Busch Thor’s ascendance. Neither of the newly elected vice-chairs of the party, Jakob Forssmed and Emma Henriksson, is over 40.

Former leader Göran Hägglund, who had lead the party for 11 years, resigned in January, saying serving more than a decade at the top “takes its toll”.

Busch Thor, who was born to a Swedish mother and a Norwegian father, studied peace and conflict studies at the University of Uppsala. She is expecting a baby with her husband Niklas, a football player.

With a new baby and new leadership position, Busch Thor will have her hands full, especially as she takes over the party as it is struggling.

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 former PM Fredrik Reinfeldt's coalition.

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