Bildt ducks question about Moderate Party leadership
Carl Bildt, Sweden’s former prime minister, foreign minister and Moderate Party leader, has refused to say whether he is prepared to lead the Moderates after Anna Kinberg Batra steps down.
Speaking to Norwegian national radio NRK on Tuesday, Bildt said: "No, I don't have an answer to that question at the moment."
Kinberg Batra announced last Friday that she will be stepping down as leader of the conservative Moderate Party in October and Bildt's name has been floated as a potential replacement. On Tuesday, several Moderates in western Sweden said they would like to see him at the helm of the party again.
"I’m convinced that you could wake him up in the middle of the night and he would be ready to debate with (Sweden’s Social Democrat prime minister) Stefan Löfven and push Moderate policies forward,” Arne Lernhag the Moderate mayor of Öckerö in western Sweden, told Swedish Radio.
In the NRK interview, Bildt neither confirmed nor denied that he is interested in becoming the next Moderate Party leader. However, he did make clear that, as a former member of the party – his latest position was foreign minister in the previous centre-right government – he should not meddle in internal party affairs or make public statements about their policy decisions.
"I lead the Moderates for 13 years and, as a principle, once you have resigned, you should not comment on issues relating to the party," Bildt insisted.
Asked what he makes of those who say the party needs him now, Bildt replied:
"Oh, there are always people who say a lot about many different things. That’s the way it usually goes."