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First meeting between Sweden Democrats and Moderate Party leaders

The leader of Sweden's centre-right Moderate Party has had a meeting with Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Åkesson, despite saying only a year ago that he would never work with the party.

First meeting between Sweden Democrats and Moderate Party leaders
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson, left, shakes hands with Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson during a parliamentary debate. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

In a post on his Facebook page, Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson said he met Åkesson “in order to discuss a number of important issues for the country, where our parties have similar views”.

According to Kristersson, the pair had a “constructive conversation” related to the areas of crime, energy supply, and immigration.

He said that he and Åkesson discussed the recent wave of gang-related murders in Sweden, but also the role that nuclear energy could play in Sweden in the future.

In his Facebook post, the Moderate leader reiterated a statement he made at the party's annual conference in October, when he said he would do all he could to find broad support in parliament “for a better policy”, and would not wait until the next election.

Åkesson wrote in a statement that the meeting was “rewarding, constructive, and bodes well for future collaboration in a new political landscape”.

The September 2019 election was followed by months of deadlock after neither of the traditional blocs reached a clear majority, and disagreements within the centre-right bloc on whether they would accept Sweden Democrat support led to the disintegration of the former four-party Alliance.

“The Moderates and Sweden Democrats are different parties, with different ideologies, and we think differently on several issues. However, we treat each other with respect, and on several important matters we think the same way. On these issues, I would, of course, want us to be able to cooperate in Parliament,” Kristersson wrote on Wednesday.

This is quite a contrast with statements he made previously on the idea of collaboration with the anti-immigration party.

As recently as January 2018, Kristersson said: “My values are not the Sweden Democrats'. I will not work together with them, speak with them, govern with them.”

The leader of the Christian Democrats, which has traditionally been allied with the Moderate Party, has previously held one-on-one meetings with the Sweden Democrats leader. 

The news of the Moderate-Sweden Democrat meeting comes after a new opinion poll suggested that the latter party had reached a record high, with support around 22.6 percent, which would make them the second largest party.

The same survey showed that a potential conservative bloc made up of the Moderates, Christian Democrats and Sweden Democrats would be almost equal to the bloc involved in the current governing deal plus the Left Party, whose support is required for them to have the numbers to govern. The former grouping gets 47.5 percent and the latter 50.9 percent.

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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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