New Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson
New Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson. Credit: Stina Stjernkvist/TT

New Moderate leader calls for 'consistent' line on immigration

Ulf Kristersson: We need a long term vision
6:12 min

Ulf Kristersson was officially elected as the new leader of the biggest opposition party in parliament, the Moderate party, on Sunday.

With under a year to the next election, 53-year-old Kristersson told Radio Sweden that his main goal was to reunite the four party Alliance which governed Sweden between 2006-2014. It was made up of the Moderates, the Liberals, the Christian Democrats and the Centre Party.

"We haven't done very well lately, but we have all the chances to do better in the future. It's my firm goal that the four Alliance parties we will achieve a very good result and take over as a Swedish government," he said.

In a recent poll of polls, carried out after Kinberg Batra announced she was stepping down, just under 17 per cent said they would vote Moderate. At the 2014 elections, the Moderates won 23 per cent of the vote, which at the time was seen as a disappointment.

In his victory speech Kristersson explained that he wanted to get tough on gangs, formulate a new immigration policy, get people off benefits and into work, defend businesses and improve social mobility.

He called for a more "consistent" line on immigration, which he said was otherwise swinging between "more or less open" or "closed" borders.

In a more internationalized competitive world, you cannot simply allow everybody who arrives in Sweden from the first day to have all the benefits you normally achieve by working here for many years or becoming a Swedish citizen.

He also hinted that there should be more restrictions on citizenship, such as Swedish language requirements.

In the past, many Moderates have been against efforts to co-operate with the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats. Kristersson told Radio Sweden that although his sympathies will always lie with his centre-right allies, he did not believe it were possible to entirely shut out the Sweden Democrats. He said that, like any party, they were "welcome" to vote for Moderate proposals.

Ultimately, Kristersson explained that his goal was to have a party that "acknowledges Sweden's problems and proposes trustworthy policies to solve them."

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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