A man speaking to the media outside
Jan Björklund took part in this week's parliamentary leader debate. Credit: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Liberal leader to stand down amid split in party

Jan Björklund, leader of the Liberal Party, which is in the middle of a tough internal debate, will not stand for re-election this autumn.

"After 12 years as a party leader, it is time to pass the baton on, and at some point it must happen. Twelve years is a long time to have this kind of job," Björklund told reporters on Wednesday afternoon.

The business paper Dagens Industri was first in reporting that leader Jan Björklund is going to step down. The news has since been confirmed in a statement from the party itself, which was quickly removed from its website but not before several media outlets captured the image. Björklund has been 12 years at the top of the party.

The Liberals are one of the smallest parties in Sweden but their support has been crucial for the current centre-left government to be allowed to be formed, and they won concessions including the removal of a top tier tax rate in a four-party deal.

However this support for the Social-Democrat and Green government was not unanimous within the Liberals and several local leaders had called for Björklund to step down.

The Liberals' nominations committee will now start to look for potential candidates as leader to be chosen at the party's conference in November.

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