Björklund is likely to take over Liberal party

Politics | 2007-06-16

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The former major in the Swedish army Jan Björklund will most likely be the new leader of the Liberal party (Folkpartiet). The party’s nomination committee yesterday nominated him as the only candidate to succeed Lars Leijonborg who will step down in September after 10 years as party chairman.

Björklund has been one of the closest associates to Leijonborg during the last years when the party has shifted focus from a classical social liberal approach to more focus on duties and obligations. They have also come with proposals about language tests for immigrants who want to become citizens, temporary restrictions for citizens from the new EU member states to come and work in Sweden and more discipline in schools. Leijonborg even criticised his own party of having been to "nice" in the past, meaning not daring talk about obligations.

This “hard line liberalism” in 2002 led to the party’s best election since 1985 and the second best since 1971. Some social liberals in the party have criticised this new path and wished a return to the more soft line liberalism. Björklund claims however to be a social liberal and seem to have support from an indisputable majority of the party.

Between 1998 and 2002 Björklund was the municipal commissioner for schools in Stockholm. Since 2006 he is minister for schools in the Centre-right government.


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