11 local branches want new Moderate leader
As Jämtland County Moderate members become the latest group inside the party to call for Anna Kinberg Batra to step down as leader, there are now enough local branches to call for an emergency party congress.
But the head of press at the party, inda Norberg, said on Thursday the leader is not stepping down.
On Wednesday, Moderate leaders in Stockholm County and the party’s youth wing (MUF) called for the resignation and replacement of their leader, Anna Kinberg Batra.
And on Thursday, the Moderate MP of Gotland, Jesper Skalberg Karlsson, told Swedish Radio that a majority of the Moderates on Gotland believe that they need a new leadership.
“Our party’s situation is very serious. I would go as far as to say that it is a crisis,” he said. “And the leadership’s ability to get us out of this crisis is questionable.”
The groups within the Moderate Party that have said they lack confidence in Anna Kinberg Batra are Stockholm County, Uppsala County, Västerbotten County, Dalarna County, Gotland County, Örebro County, Sörmland County, Västernorrland County, Jämtland County, Östergötland County and Stockholm City. The critics now have the required one-eighth of branches needed to call an emergency conference.
The youth wing, MUF, has also said it has no confidence in the party leader.
However, several heavy-weight sections of the party, such as Skåne and the Gothenburg region of Västra Götland, are still supporting Anna Kinberg Batra.
One person who is mentioned as a possible successor is the current economic spokesman, Ulf Kristersson. He says to Swedish Radio on Thursday that becoming party leader is not on the agenda for him; he says he has not changed his mind since he said the same thing three years ago.
And outside the party, Ebba Busch Thor from the allied Christian Democrats, said that Kinberg Batra has her support.
“It is not up to me if she stays or not, but I would like to continue working with her,” Busch Thor said in an interview on Aftonbladet's morning broadcast. “I value Anna as a person as well as a politician.”
Another leader of the Alliance parties, Annie Lööf of the Center Party, says it is a shame that there is such a personal focus in the Moderates' leadership debate.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Anna Kinberg Batra said that she committed to see the Moderates through the election and she has no plans to step down.
In a compilation of the most recent opinion polls released today, Moderate Party support increased only slightly in the last two months from 16.1 percent to 16.2 percent. With these numbers, the centre-right Moderates would be the third largest party in parliament, behind the centre-left Social Democrats with 29.3 percent and the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats with 18.3 percent support.