In tune with classically conservative parties of the time, the ”General Electorial Union” as it was called at the time, was initially nationalistic and opposed universal sufferage, worker’s rights, and the creation of the welfare state.
The rapid changes in postwar Sweden however, brought about many changes in the party’s ideology, politics - and even its name. In 1952, the party became the ”Right Party”. Just 17 years later, after Sweden tumultuous 1960’s, it was time again - and the party re-branded itself the Moderate Party in 1969 .
After many decades of Social Democrat rule, the right of centre opposition parites secured a majority in the 1976 elections. The Center Party was then the largest opposition party, and Conservative Moderate leader Gösta Bohman became Minister for the Economy.
The Social Democrats returned to power in 1982.
The Bildt government
In 1986 Carl Bildt was elected leader of the Moderates, and led the center-right parties to victory in 1991, becoming Prime Minister. During this period the government cut taxes and public spending, negotiated Sweden’s entry into the European Union, and broke up the public monopolies in telecommunications and broadcasting.
After Sweden’s worst economic downturn in the early 1990’s, the coalition lost its majority in 1994 and has remained in opposition ever since.
A decade in opposition
Electoral success elluded the party after Carl Bildt stepped down. After a disasterous election defeat in 2002, Bildt’s successor, Bo Lundgren resigned to make way for Fredrik Reinfeldt to became leader.
His youthful style has seen the party and the rest of the opposition grow in support to out-poll and government and its allies.