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Moderate Party begins search for new leader

Updated fredag 25 augusti 2017 kl 11.22
Published fredag 25 augusti 2017 kl 08.44
Anna Kinberg Batra: The problems will not go away with my departure
4:18 min
Anna Kinberg Batra has been leader since 2014.
Anna Kinberg Batra has been leader since 2014. Credit: Fredrik Sandberg/TT.

After its leader resigned on Friday morning the Moderate Party's selection committee will meet on Sunday to discuss possible successors.

Anna Kinberg Batra, the leader of the conservative Moderates, announced at a press conference, Friday, that she was stepping down after losing a majority of support within her own party.

Batra, who succeeded former prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt as the first female leader of the Moderate Party, said that she made her decision following "an overall assessment on Thursday evening.

She said that choosing a new leader did not mean that the party's problems would be over.

"This does not mean that the problems of the Moderates have been solved. They did not occur after I was chosen, they were not about a single person."

She also criticised those involved in the internal strife in the party.

"There are too many moderates who only deal with what is just self-harm."

She said that she was proud of her achievements in the last three years as leader of the party.

"I am proud of the confidence I had to become the Moderates first female party leader. I hope that my daughter will experience during her lifetime a woman as prime minister of Sweden." 

Anna Kinberg Batra says she does not regret her decision to open to the Sweden Democrats. She says it is always right to seek support of the whole parliament for her party's politics.

Eleven out of twenty two local party branches had said they had no faith in the leadership of Anna Kinberg Batra. She took over after the 2014 election, when former prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt stepped down.

Her time as party leader has been beset by internal strife over whether the centre-right opposition should allow the weak centre-left government to continue to rule. After Anna Kinberg Batra made it clear she would vote together with the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats to unseat the government, many of her party' supporters deserted it, either to the more liberal and pro-open borders Center Party, or to the Sweden Democrats, who say immigration is a major threat to the Swedish nation.

The Moderates were able to poll 30 per cent under Fredrik Reinfeldt's best years, but currently they are polling 16 per cent, less than the Sweden Democrats.

The Moderate Party's selection committee (valberedning) will now start to look for possible candidates to take over the leadership.

Swedish Radio's analyst Tomas Ramberg says he thinks a successor to Batra will be probably elected unanimously, by a party in need of unity.

The two main candidates to take over are Elisabeth Svantesson, who focuses on labour market issues, and current economy spokesperson Ulf Kristersson, who has recently said he was not in the picture for the job.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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