Liberal People's Party (Sweden)

Liberal People's Party (Sweden)

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The Liberal People's Party is a political party in Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

. The party advocates social liberalism
Social liberalism
Social liberalism is the belief that liberalism should include social justice. It differs from classical liberalism in that it believes the legitimate role of the state includes addressing economic and social issues such as unemployment, health care, and education while simultaneously expanding...

 and is part of the governing centre-right
Centre-right
The centre-right or center-right is a political term commonly used to describe or denote individuals, political parties, or organizations whose views stretch from the centre to the right on the left-right spectrum, excluding far right stances. Centre-right can also describe a coalition of centrist...

 coalition The Alliance, which achieved a majority in the general election
Swedish general election, 2006
A general election was held in Sweden on 17 September 2006, to elect members to the Swedish parliament. All 349 seats were up for election: 310 "fixed seats" in 29 constituencies and 39 members at a national level for what are called "adjustment seats", used to ensure that parties have...

 of 17 September 2006. The party is currently the fourth largest party in the Riksdag
Parliament of Sweden
The Riksdag is the national legislative assembly of Sweden. The riksdag is a unicameral assembly with 349 members , who are elected on a proportional basis to serve fixed terms of four years...

.

In Sweden itself the party is almost universally referred to as Folkpartiet, the people's party, with liberalerna, "the liberals, only being added in formal or legal contexts.

History

  • 1809: The first liberal
    Liberalism
    Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

     party is formed after a coup d'état
    Coup d'état
    A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

     ends 20 years of royal autocracy under the Union and Security Act; it is possibly the first party in the world to use the word "liberal" in its name.
  • 1902: "Frisinnade Landsföreningen" (loosely translatable as the Freeminded National Association) is formed as the first liberal party with a national grassroots organisation. It is heavily reliant on the "free religious" church movement.
  • 1923: "Frisinnade Landsföreningen" splits over alcohol prohibition; the anti-ban minority forms Liberal Party of Sweden
    Liberal Party of Sweden
    The Liberal Party of Sweden was a political party in Sweden. It was formed in 1923 by the anti-prohibition minority of the Liberal Coalition Party as a consequence of the split over the issue on alcohol prohibition...

    . "Frisinnade Landsföreningen" heads several governments during the following years.
  • 1934: The parties reconcile and form "Folkpartiet" (The People's Party), i.e. the party in its present form.
  • 1939–45: Partakes in a wartime coalition government comprising all parties except the communists. Sweden sticks to neutrality during the second world war.
  • 1976: Enters a three-party government ending 44 years of Social Democratic Party
    Swedish Social Democratic Party
    The Swedish Social Democratic Workers' Party, , contesting elections as 'the Workers' Party – the Social Democrats' , or sometimes referred to just as 'the Social Democrats' and most commonly as Sossarna ; is the oldest and largest political party in Sweden. The party was founded in 1889...

     rule (excepting the wartime emergency grand coalition).
  • 1978: The Liberal Party forms a short-lived minority government by itself, with chairperson Ola Ullsten
    Ola Ullsten
    Stig Kjell Olof Ullsten is a Swedish liberal politician, former Prime Minister of Sweden and former leader of the Swedish Liberal People's Party.-Background and early career:...

     as prime minister. Hans Blix
    Hans Blix
    is a Swedish diplomat and politician for the Liberal People's Party. He was Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs . Blix was also the head of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission from March 2000 to June 2003, when he was succeeded by Dimitris Perrikos...

    , of later Iraq-war fame, is foreign minister.
  • 1979: A new attempt at a three-part coalition is made.
  • 1980–82: Forms a two-party coalition government with the Centre party
    Centre Party (Sweden)
    The Centre Party is a centrist political party in Sweden. The party maintains close ties to rural Sweden and describes itself as "a green social liberal party". The ideology is sometimes called agrarian, but in a European context, the Centre Party can perhaps best be characterized as social...

    .
  • 1990: Adds "Liberalerna" (The Liberals) to its name.
  • 1991–94: Part of four-party coalition government under Moderate Party
    Moderate Party
    The Moderate Party is a centre-right, liberal conservative political party in Sweden. The party was founded in 1904 as the General Electoral League by a group of conservatives in the Swedish parliament...

     leader Carl Bildt
    Carl Bildt
    , Honorary KCMG is a Swedish politician, diplomat and nobleman. Formerly Prime Minister of Sweden from 1991 to 1994 and leader of the liberal conservative Moderate Party from 1986 to 1999, Bildt has served as Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs since 6 October 2006...

    .
  • 2006-: Part of a four-party coalition government
    Alliance for Sweden
    The Alliance , formerly Alliance for Sweden , is a political alliance in Sweden. It consists of the four centre-right parties in the Riksdag...

     under Moderate Party leader Fredrik Reinfeldt
    Fredrik Reinfeldt
    John Fredrik Reinfeldt is the Prime Minister of Sweden, leader of the liberal conservative Moderate Party and former President of the European Council...


Ideology


The official party ideology has historically been social liberalism
Social liberalism
Social liberalism is the belief that liberalism should include social justice. It differs from classical liberalism in that it believes the legitimate role of the state includes addressing economic and social issues such as unemployment, health care, and education while simultaneously expanding...

, which translates as a strong ideological commitment to a mixed economy
Mixed economy
Mixed economy is an economic system in which both the state and private sector direct the economy, reflecting characteristics of both market economies and planned economies. Most mixed economies can be described as market economies with strong regulatory oversight, in addition to having a variety...

, with support for comprehensive but market-based welfare state
Welfare state
A welfare state is a "concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those...

 programs. However in recent years the party has moved markedly towards conservative liberalism
Conservative liberalism
Conservative liberalism is a variant of liberalism, combining liberal values and policies with conservative stances, or, more simply, representing the right-wing of the liberal movement....

 in its social attitudes.

While initially allied with the Swedish Social Democratic Party
Swedish Social Democratic Party
The Swedish Social Democratic Workers' Party, , contesting elections as 'the Workers' Party – the Social Democrats' , or sometimes referred to just as 'the Social Democrats' and most commonly as Sossarna ; is the oldest and largest political party in Sweden. The party was founded in 1889...

 in the struggle for democracy (achieved in 1921) and social reform, the People's Party came to be part of the opposition from the thirties and onwards, opposing Social Democrat demands for nationalization
Nationalization
Nationalisation, also spelled nationalization, is the process of taking an industry or assets into government ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being...

 of private businesses. It has stayed opposed to the Social Democrats ever since, often as the largest or second-largest party of the opposition block (called the non-socialists or "de borgerliga", approximately the bourgeois), but often equally critical towards parties on the right. Over time, this has shifted towards a more clear-cut rightwing role. In the mid-nineties, the party seemed to have ruled out the alternative of co-operation with the Social Democrats, focusing instead on bringing them down by strengthening the opposition.

Foreign aid and women's equality were very important issues for the party in the past, and today the party advocates liberal feminism
Liberal feminism
Liberal feminism asserts the equality of men and women through political and legal reform. It is an individualistic form of feminism and theory, which focuses on women’s ability to show and maintain their equality through their own actions and choices...

 and giving a full percent of the gross national income as foreign aid
Aid
In international relations, aid is a voluntary transfer of resources from one country to another, given at least partly with the objective of benefiting the recipient country....

.

Foreign policy is another high-profile issue. Always oriented towards the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, the party was a strong opponent of Communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 and Nazism
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 during the 20th century. While it was part of and supported the Swedish coalition government and its position of neutrality
Neutral country
A neutral power in a particular war is a sovereign state which declares itself to be neutral towards the belligerents. A non-belligerent state does not need to be neutral. The rights and duties of a neutral power are defined in Sections 5 and 13 of the Hague Convention of 1907...

 during World War II, the party advocated an active stance against the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 during the Cold war
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

. The party (alongside Moderaterna
Moderate Party
The Moderate Party is a centre-right, liberal conservative political party in Sweden. The party was founded in 1904 as the General Electoral League by a group of conservatives in the Swedish parliament...

) actively supported the struggle of Baltic peoples
Baltic states
The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

 against the Soviet regime, whereas Social Democrats were wary of irritating the Soviets. As a consequence, it suffered several sharply worded rebukes from the often-ruling Social Democrats for endangering Swedish relations to the Soviet Union. It also criticised what it perceived as Social Democrat tolerance of left wing dictatorships in the third world, and supported the United States in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. After the end of the Cold war it became the first Swedish party to call for abandoning the country's traditional neutrality, in favor of joining NATO.

In third world issues, the party supported decolonization
Decolonization
Decolonization refers to the undoing of colonialism, the unequal relation of polities whereby one people or nation establishes and maintains dependent Territory over another...

 and advocated boycotting South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 to help overthrow Apartheid rule. It also opposed third world Communist dictatorships. Nowadays, it is strongly supportive of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, and former Party leader Per Ahlmark
Per Ahlmark
Per Axel Ahlmark is a Swedish writer and former politician. He was the leader of the Liberal People's Party from 1975 to 1978, and Minister for Employment and Deputy Prime Minister in the Swedish government from 1976 to 1978...

 has been especially vocal on the issue.

On the European level, the Liberal People's Party was strongly supportive of the emergence of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, and campaigned for Swedish entry into it (which happened in 1995). It also campaigned for joining the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union
Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union
The Economic and Monetary Union is an umbrella term for the group of policies aimed at converging the economies of members of the European Union in three stages so as to allow them to adopt a single currency, the euro. As such, it is largely synonymous with the eurozone.All member states of the...

, but this was voted down by the Swedes in a referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

 in 2003. The party has aimed to come across as the most "pro-European" party, trying to break what it refers to as the country's "isolationist" mindset. It is supportive of EU enlargement, including letting Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 join on condition of democratic reforms, and also advocates further integrative measures, with some members, including the youth organization, openly calling for a single federal European state.

In 2003, the Liberal People's Party supported the invasion of Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, but stopped short of demanding Swedish participation in the US-led "coalition of the willing
Coalition of the willing
The term coalition of the willing is a post-1990 political phrase used to collectively describe participants in military or military-humanitarian interventions for which the United Nations Security Council cannot agree to mount a full UN peacekeeping operation...

". In recent years, and especially under the leadership of Jan Björklund
Jan Björklund
Jan Arne Björklund is a Swedish politician. He is the leader of the Liberal People's Party and serves as Minister for Education and Deputy Prime Minister in the Swedish government.- Education and military career :...

, the party has moved markedly towards conservative liberalism
Conservative liberalism
Conservative liberalism is a variant of liberalism, combining liberal values and policies with conservative stances, or, more simply, representing the right-wing of the liberal movement....

 in its social attitudes, taking tougher stands on areas such as crime and punishment, law and order, school and discipline as well as strengthening its abolitionist policies on drugs. The Liberal People's Party's support for the controversial 2008 FRA-surveillance law in particular has upset its youth organisation.

Voter base


The party voter base is mainly centered on middle-class voters.

Historically the party had a strong base in the 'free churches' (Protestant congregations not part of the state church that turned into powerful grass-roots movements in the late 19th century), but with the exception of certain regions, that is not a significant feature today. Tensions between factions sometimes described as "the free religionists" and "the metropolitan liberals" (occasionally in the form of an open left-right conflict, with the "free religious" members emphasizing the social aspect over liberal economics
Economic liberalism
Economic liberalism is the ideological belief in giving all people economic freedom, and as such granting people with more basis to control their own lives and make their own mistakes. It is an economic philosophy that supports and promotes individual liberty and choice in economic matters and...

) was an important part of party life up until the seventies. It provoked a party split in the twenties, centered on the question of an alcohol ban, but differences were eventually repaired (the re-merging of the parties in 1934 is one of the party's plethora of official creation dates, some others being 1895, 1900 and 1902, providing frequent cause for anniversary celebrations).

Since 2002 the party has been accused of trying to attract new voters by adopting populist right-wing rhetoric, although the party proposes to open Sweden's doors to economic migrants and to additional asylum seekers. Party leader Lars Leijonborg proposed a language test for immigrants who applied for Swedish citizenship. Recently, the party's education spokesman and first deputy chairman Jan Björklund has called on schoolteachers to report schoolchildren with extreme opinions to the intelligence services, something which has caused opposition from within the party, not least from the youth league. It has campaigns strongly against terrorism and criminality. While these tactics may have helped to more than double party support in the 2002 elections (to 13.3%), they have also provoked accusations of betraying liberal ideology from within leftist factions of the party, and led to criticism from the strong liberal press in Sweden. However, the party, which has historically been the most pro-immigration Swedish party, has also proposed measures intended to make it easier for foreigners to visit relatives living in Sweden, and to ease restrictions on economic migrants, for which it has been opposed by the governing Social Democrats
Swedish Social Democratic Party
The Swedish Social Democratic Workers' Party, , contesting elections as 'the Workers' Party – the Social Democrats' , or sometimes referred to just as 'the Social Democrats' and most commonly as Sossarna ; is the oldest and largest political party in Sweden. The party was founded in 1889...

. In its policy on integration, the party support more open immigration combined with measures to help new arrivals to integrate into Swedish society.

2006 computer hacking scandal



On 4 September 2006, only weeks before the 2006 general election
Swedish general election, 2006
A general election was held in Sweden on 17 September 2006, to elect members to the Swedish parliament. All 349 seats were up for election: 310 "fixed seats" in 29 constituencies and 39 members at a national level for what are called "adjustment seats", used to ensure that parties have...

, the Social Democratic Party
Swedish Social Democratic Party
The Swedish Social Democratic Workers' Party, , contesting elections as 'the Workers' Party – the Social Democrats' , or sometimes referred to just as 'the Social Democrats' and most commonly as Sossarna ; is the oldest and largest political party in Sweden. The party was founded in 1889...

 reported to the police that its internal network had been hacked into. It has been reported that members of the Liberal People's Party had copied secret information not yet officially released to counter-attack Social Democrat political propositions on at least two occasions. On 5 September, the Party Secretary, Johan Jakobsson
Johan Jakobsson
Johan Mikael Jakobsson is a Swedish team handball player, playing for the Danish club Aalborg Håndbold and for the Swedish national team.- References :* on Aalborg Håndbold's webpage*...

, voluntarily chose to resign. Leading members of the party and its youth organisation were under police investigation suspected for criminal activity. All members of the party were acquitted by the court however, while an official of the party's youth organisation, as well as one from the Social Democrats and a newspaper reporter, were found guilty.

Affiliated organisations and international memberships


The Liberal People's Party has a youth organization called Liberal Youth of Sweden (Liberala ungdomsförbundet, LUF), which has its own platform and maintains a separate organisation from the party. Its chairperson is Adam Cwejman
Adam Cwejman
Adam Michael Cwejman is a Swedish politician and the current chairman of the Liberal Youth of Sweden. He is the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants....

.

There is also a women's organization called Liberal Women (Liberala Kvinnor, LK, chairperson Birgitta Ohlsson
Birgitta Ohlsson
Eva Birgitta Ohlsson is a Swedish politician, currently serving as Minister for European Union Affairs in the Swedish government. She is a war-mongering, anti-Cuban and USA-loyal member of the Liberal People's Party....

) and immigrants' organization called Liberal Mångfald, LM, (Liberal Multicultural Association, chairperson Anna Steele Karlström). Additionally, party members maintain a number of small ad hoc "networks" addressing specific issues.

The Liberal People's Party is a member of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party
European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party
The European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party is a European political party mainly active in the European Union, composed of 56 national-level liberal and liberal-democratic parties from across Europe...

 and Liberal International
Liberal International
Liberal International is a political international federation for liberal parties. Its headquarters is located at 1 Whitehall Place, London, SW1A 2HD within the National Liberal Club. It was founded in Oxford in 1947, and has become the pre-eminent network for liberal parties and for the...

. It is also part of Liberal organisations on the Nordic
Nordic countries
The Nordic countries make up a region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and their associated territories, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland...

 and Baltic
Baltic countries
The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

 levels. The party's MEP
Member of the European Parliament
A Member of the European Parliament is a person who has been elected to the European Parliament. The name of MEPs differ in different languages, with terms such as europarliamentarian or eurodeputy being common in Romance language-speaking areas.When the European Parliament was first established,...

s sit with the Alliance of Lberals and Democrats for Europe
Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
The Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe is the current liberal/centrist political group of the European Parliament...

 parliamentary group.

Election results


Election results by year, not including pre-1934 history:


Party leaders

Leader Took office Left office Duration
Gustaf Andersson 1935 28 September 1944 ca.
Bertil Ohlin
Bertil Ohlin
Bertil Gotthard Ohlin was a Swedish economist and politician. He was a professor of economics at the Stockholm School of Economics from 1929 to 1965. He was also leader of the People's Party, a social-liberal party which at the time was the largest party in opposition to the governing Social...

28 September 1944 1967 ca.
Sven Wedén
Sven Wedén
Sven Wedén was a Swedish politician. He was the leader of the Swedish People's Party from 1967 to 1969....

1967 26 September 1969 ca.
Gunnar Helén
Gunnar Helén
Gunnar Helén, was a Swedish liberal politician. He was party leader of Liberal People's Party 1969-1975, Governor of Kronoberg County 1965-1970 and of Stockholm County 1977-1984....

1969 7 November 1975 ca.
Per Ahlmark
Per Ahlmark
Per Axel Ahlmark is a Swedish writer and former politician. He was the leader of the Liberal People's Party from 1975 to 1978, and Minister for Employment and Deputy Prime Minister in the Swedish government from 1976 to 1978...

7 November 1975 4 March 1978
Ola Ullsten
Ola Ullsten
Stig Kjell Olof Ullsten is a Swedish liberal politician, former Prime Minister of Sweden and former leader of the Swedish Liberal People's Party.-Background and early career:...

4 March 1978 1 October 1983
Bengt Westerberg
Bengt Westerberg
Bengt Carl Gustaf Westerberg was a Swedish politician. He is the son of Carl-Erik Westerberg and his wife Barbro...

1 October 1983 4 February 1995
Maria Leissner
Maria Leissner
Maria Leissner is a Swedish politician and former party leader of the Swedish Liberal People's Party . Between 2000-2004 she was Sweden's ambassador to Guatemala. In January 2007 she was appointed Ambassador-at-Large for Democracy.-External links:*...

4 February 1995 15 March 1997
Lars Leijonborg
Lars Leijonborg
Lars Erik Ansgar Leijonborg is a Swedish politician, Minister for Higher Education and Research 2006-2009 and Head of the Ministry of Education and Research 2006-2007...

15 March 1997 7 September 2007
Jan Björklund
Jan Björklund
Jan Arne Björklund is a Swedish politician. He is the leader of the Liberal People's Party and serves as Minister for Education and Deputy Prime Minister in the Swedish government.- Education and military career :...

7 September 2007 Incumbent (ongoing)

See also

  • The Alliance (Sweden)
  • Liberal Youth of Sweden
  • Liberalism and centrism in Sweden
    Liberalism and centrism in Sweden
    This article gives an overview of liberalism and centrism in Sweden. It is limited to liberal and centrist parties with substantial support, mainly proved by having had a representation in parliament. The sign ⇒ denotes another party in that scheme...

  • Folkpartister i Svenska kyrkan
    Folkpartister i Svenska kyrkan
    Folkpartister i Svenska kyrkan is a nominating group of members of Liberal People's Party and other liberals that work within the Church of Sweden...


External links