Published 20th June, 2014
The Moderate Party or Moderaterna was founded on 17th October 1904 as the General Electoral League to act as a gathering point for conservatives in the Riksdag. By the election of 1940 the party had become known as the National Organisation of the Right and in 1952 became the Right Party (or Rightist Party). In 1969 the party changed its name once more to the Moderate Coalition Party or Moderate Party.
The Party describes itself as Centre-right and believes in Conservatism and Liberal conservatism.
The party was involved in several coalitions and minority governments before 1932; in that year it had its best result to date by winning 73 of the 230 seats in the Riksdag. The party after that time did not see government again for 44 years, apart from the period during the Second World War when it was part of a national unity government. It was only in the 1950s when it changed its name and managed to shrug of a perception of extremism that it started to do a little better. In the 1958 election the party had clambered back up to 45 seats but then dropped back down in the 1960s.
In 1970 Gösta Bohman became the new party leader and he moved the party from traditionalist conservatism to liberal conservatism. The party once more improved its number from 41 seats in 1970 to 51 seats in 1973 and then 55 seats in 1976. It was the year of 1976 when the party returned to government once more under the leadership of Prime Minister Thorbjörn Fälldin of the centrist Centre Party (C). Gösta Bohman became Minister of Economy. The coalition, which included the centre-right Liberal People’s Party (FP) was re-elected in 1979 with Moderaterna winning 73 seats in the 349 seat Riksdag.
The party withdrew from the coalition in 1981 following arguments over fiscal policy but continued to give external support to the government. Although the party increased its tally of seats still further in 1982 to 86 seats the other two parties did less well following the disagreements and the Social Democrats were back in power for the next three terms.
The party slipped back in the 1988 election to 66 seats despite having a new leader, Carl Bildt, but improved once more in 1991 to 80 seats and was able to form a coalition government with the Centre Party (C), Liberal People’s Party (FP) and the centre-right Christian Democrats (KD).
A general swing to the left meant that the Social Democrats were back in power in 1994 despite the Moderate Party retaining its 80 seats. 1998 was a better year with the party taking 82 seats but still adrift of forming a government and in 2002 they dropped back to 55 seats after Carl Bildt had resigned as leader in 1999 and was replaced by Bo Lundgren who was considered weak and uninspiring.
Lundgren was replaced by Fredrik Reinfeldt in 2003 who shook up party policy and rebranded the Moderate Party as the New Moderates. Today the party supports lower taxes and economic liberalism. It worked; in 2006 the party won 97 seats, its best ever result so far as part of the four centre-right parties The Alliance (formed in 2004). The four parties went into a coalition government and in 2010 Moderaterna won 107 seats and a second consecutive term in office as part of The Alliance.
The Moderate Party is a member of the International Democrat Union (IDU) and the European People’s Party. In the European Parliament, where it currently holds three of the 20 national seats it is a member of the European People’s Party (EPP) bloc.