Christian Democrat leader seeks to lure Centre voters at Almedalen

Christian Democrat leader Ebba Busch positioned herself of the defender of the middle-class right to "villa, Volvo, vovve" (a house, a Volvo and a dog), in a speech aimed squarely at voters of the Centre Party.

Christian Democrat leader seeks to lure Centre voters at Almedalen
Ebba Busch, leader of the Christian Democrats Party, makes her speech at the Almedalen political festival. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

The Christian Democrats are seeking to lure voters for the Centre Party in the the Swedish countryside and beyond, who are uncomfortable with its move to the left-side of Swedish politics, and its neglect of the rural issues it championed when it was Sweden’s farmer’s party. 

“A vote for the Centre Party is in practical terms a vote for the Green Party,” Busch said in her speech at the Almedalen political festival in Gotland.

“A vote for Annie Lööf is a vote to give Stenevi and Bolund influence over hunting, forestry, wolves, agriculture and the price of fuel. We Christian Democrats want to offer everyone who previously voted for the Centre Party a new home.” 

She said that the Center Party had “swapped tractors for electric scooters”, and become a party of urbanites. 

“If you voted for the Centre Party before, vote this year for the Christian Democrats. We’re the party fighting for your right to live the typical Svensson-life outside the city centre.” 

The Svensson-life was the theme running through the speech, with Busch arguing that it had got harder and harder for ordinary Swedes to provide this basics of a middle class life for themselves, a situation for which she laid the blame squarely on the Social Democrats.  

While Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson described the rising prices of goods as Putinpriser, or “Putin prices”, putting the blame on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Busch instead called them Magdapriser, putting the blame on Andersson herself. 

“We’ve ended up with Magda prices for electricity, petrol, food, and now interest rates. It’s estimated that an average two-child family will see their costs rise by 50,000 kronor this year and next year,” she said. 

The solution, she argued, was to vote in Ulf Kristersson, the Moderate Party’s leader, as prime minister. 

“There is an alternative, with Ulf Kristersson as Prime Minister, which is agreed on the solutions on all the difficult questions. That’s why I want to also appeal to those of you who usually vote for the Social Democrats. In this election, lend your vote to the right-wing parties.” 

You can read the speech here in Swedish or in English (Google Translated) here

The Local will as always cover the Swedish election from the point of view of international citizens living in Sweden.

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Swedish PM: Moderate Party’s property tax warnings ‘completely absurd’

Sweden's prime minister, Magdalena Andersson, has yet again denied that her party plans to bring back a property tax, calling the Moderate Party's decision to campaign on the issue 'completely absurd'.

Swedish PM: Moderate Party's property tax warnings 'completely absurd'

In a long interview broadcast on Swedish state radio broadcaster SR, Andersson stressed that her party had no plans to bring back the property tax abolished by the Moderate-led government back in 2008. 

“We are not going to campaign on the back of a property tax, have no plans to do it, and have shown over the last eight years that we are not doing it,” she said. “It is completely absurd that the Moderates are running their campaign about this for the third or fourth time in a row. They were cranking this out in 2014, 2018 and now in 2022, and we have not brought back the property tax.” 

When pushed by the interviewer, however, Andersson refused to absolutely rule out making any changes to Sweden’s system of property taxation. 

“If I start to draw red lines, I will risk creating an even more locked situation after the election,” she said. “But there’s no question over what I believe. If you don’t want to bring back property tax, you should vote for the Social Democrats.” 

The Swedish Trade Union Confederation LO, is in favour of bringing back the property tax, which it describes as “one of the best taxes”, as is the Left Party.

After the interview, Tobias Billström and Elisabeth Svantesson, the Moderate Party’s group leader and financial spokesperson, said that by refusing to rule out bringing back the tax, Andersson had justified their decision to campaign on the issue. 

“Unequivocal message from Magdalena Andersson today in P1 Morgon,” Billström wrote on Twitter. “If the Left Party wants property tax to be reintroduced, it will happen. There are no red lines from S.” 

“Bringing back property tax is on the negotiating table,” Svantesson wrote. “She has no red lines there. Important — but expensive — message for Swedish households.” 

Andersson did, however, say that the Social Democrats want to raise taxes, saying that the party planned to bring in a new tax to fund building back Sweden’s defence capabilities, a so-called beredskapsskatt, or “preparedness tax”. 

“So that this will not end up taking priority over schools, pensions, healthcare and elderly care, we think that those with the highest incomes should be able to pay just a little bit extra towards this,” she said, although she would not go into detail on how “highest incomes” would be defined. 

“But in the economic situation we are in, it’s not the time to raise taxes for ordinary households,” she said.