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Liberal People's Party (Sweden)

Liberal People's Party
Folkpartiet liberalerna
Abbreviation FP
Leader Jan Björklund
Founded 5 August 1934
Headquarters Stora Nygatan 2A, Stockholm
Youth wing Liberal Youth of Sweden
Ideology Liberalism[1]
Conservative liberalism[2]
Liberal feminism[3]
Political position Centre-right[4][5][6]
National affiliation The Alliance
International affiliation Liberal International
European affiliation Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
European Parliament group Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
Colours Blue, orange
19 / 349
European Parliament
2 / 20
County councils[7]
96 / 1,597
Municipal councils[8]
710 / 12,780
Politics of Sweden
Political parties

The Liberal People's Party (Swedish: Folkpartiet liberalerna, FP) is a liberal,[9][10] social liberal[11] and conservative-liberal[2] political party in Sweden. The party was a part of the Alliance coalition government led by Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt from 2006 to 2014. The party is the seventh largest party in the Swedish Riksdag.

While the party historically was positioned in the centre of the Swedish political landscape, willing to cooperate with both the political left and the right, the party has since the leaderships of Jan Björklund in the 2000s become more conservative and positioned itself clearly on the right.[12][4][13] The party's issues includes free market economy, pushing for Sweden to join NATO, the Eurozone, as well as investing in nuclear power; lately it has focused more on gender equality and the school system.[12][4]


  • Name 1
  • History 2
  • Ideology 3
  • Voter base 4
  • 2006 computer hacking scandal 5
  • Affiliated organisations and international memberships 6
  • General election results 7
  • Election results 8
  • Party leaders 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


In Sweden itself the party is almost universally referred to as Folkpartiet, the people's party, with liberalerna, "the liberals," only being added in formal or legal contexts (literally, the full name is "People's Party the Liberals"). In English, the party is alternately referred to as the "Liberal People's Party" or simply the "Liberal Party."


  • 1809: The first liberal party is formed after a coup d'état ends 20 years of royal autocracy under the Union and Security Act; it is possibly the first party in the world to use the word "liberal" in its name.
  • 1902:
  • 1910: After women became eligible to municipal councils in Sweden, Falun city council for the Liberal Party.
  • 1923: "Frisinnade Landsföreningen" splits over alcohol prohibition; the anti-ban minority forms Liberal Party of Sweden. "Frisinnade Landsföreningen" heads several governments during the following years.
  • 1934: The parties reconcile and form "Folkpartiet" (The People's Party), i.e. the party in its present form.
  • 1939–45: Partakes in a wartime coalition government comprising all parties except the communists. Sweden sticks to neutrality during the second world war.
  • 1976: Enters a three-party government ending 44 years of Social Democratic Party rule (excepting the wartime emergency grand coalition).
  • 1978: The Liberal Party forms a short-lived minority government by itself, with chairperson Ola Ullsten as prime minister. Hans Blix, of later Iraq-war fame, is foreign minister.
  • 1979: A new attempt at a three-party coalition is made.
  • 1980–82: Forms a two-party coalition government with the Centre party.
  • 1990: Adds "Liberalerna" (The Liberals) to its name.
  • 1991–94: Part of four-party coalition government under Moderate Party leader Carl Bildt.
  • 2002: More than doubles vote share and comes close to a second place in elections; party leader Lars Leijonborg fails to unite a green-liberal four-party coalition government with passive Moderate support.
  • 2006–14: Part of a four-party coalition government under Moderate Party leader Fredrik Reinfeldt.


People's Party election workers, 1940 election

The official party ideology has historically been social liberalism, which translates as a strong ideological commitment to a mixed economy, with support for comprehensive but market-based welfare state programs.

While initially allied with the the bourgeois), but often equally critical towards parties on the right. Over time, this has shifted towards a more clear-cut rightwing role. In the mid-nineties, the party seemed to have ruled out the alternative of co-operation with the Social Democrats, focusing instead on bringing them down by strengthening the opposition.

Foreign aid and women's equality were very important issues for the party in the past, and today the party advocates liberal feminism and giving a full percent of the gross national income as foreign aid.

Foreign policy is another high-profile issue. Always oriented towards the United States and the United Kingdom, the party was a strong opponent of Communism and Nazism during the 20th century. While it was part of and supported the Swedish coalition government and its position of neutrality during World War II, the party advocated an active stance against the Soviet Union during the Cold war. The party (alongside Moderaterna) actively supported the struggle of Baltic peoples against the Soviet regime, whereas Social Democrats were wary of irritating the Soviets.[14] As a consequence, it suffered several sharply worded rebukes from the often-ruling Social Democrats for endangering Swedish relations to the Soviet Union. It also criticised what it perceived as Social Democrat tolerance of left wing dictatorships in the third world, and supported the United States in the Vietnam War. After the end of the Cold war it became the first Swedish party to call for abandoning the country's traditional neutrality, in favor of joining NATO.

In the world issues, the party supported decolonization and advocated boycotting South Africa to help overthrow Apartheid rule. It also opposed third world Communist dictatorships. Nowadays, it is strongly supportive of Israel, and former Party leader Per Ahlmark has been especially vocal on the issue.

On the European level, the Liberal People's Party was strongly supportive of the emergence of the European Union, and campaigned for Swedish entry into it (which happened in 1995). It also campaigned for joining the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union, but this was voted down by the Swedes in a referendum in 2003. The party has aimed to come across as the most "pro-European" party, trying to break what it refers to as the country's "isolationist" mindset. It is supportive of EU enlargement, including letting Turkey join on condition of democratic reforms, and also advocates further integrative measures, with some members, including the youth organization, openly calling for a single federal European state.

In 2003, the Liberal People's Party supported the invasion of Iraq, but stopped short of demanding Swedish participation in the US-led "coalition of the willing". In recent years, and especially under the leadership of Jan Björklund, the party has moved markedly towards conservative liberalism in its social attitudes, taking tougher stands on areas such as crime and punishment, law and order, school and discipline as well as strengthening its abolitionist policies on drugs. In 2008, The Liberal People's Party's support for a controversial legislative change regulating the National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) in particular upset its youth organisation.

Voter base

The party voter base is greater among people above the age of 65, as well as increasing as the education goes up. The support is lowest among people with a pre-gymnasial education.[15]

Historically the party had a strong base in the 'free churches' (Protestant congregations not part of the state church that turned into powerful grass-roots movements in the late 19th century), but with the exception of certain regions, that is not a significant feature today. Tensions between factions sometimes described as "the free religionists" and "the metropolitan liberals" (occasionally in the form of an open left-right conflict, with the "free religious" members emphasizing the social aspect over liberal economics) was an important part of party life up until the seventies. It provoked a party split in the twenties, centered on the question of an alcohol ban, but differences were eventually repaired (the re-merging of the parties in 1934 is one of the party's plethora of official creation dates, some others being 1895, 1900 and 1902, providing frequent cause for anniversary celebrations).

Since 2002, the party has been accused of trying to attract new voters by adopting populist right-wing rhetoric, although the party proposes to open Sweden's doors to economic migrants and to additional asylum seekers. Former party leader Lars Leijonborg proposed a language test for immigrants who apply for Swedish citizenship. Recently, Jan Björklund, at the time the party's education spokesman and first deputy chairman, has called on schoolteachers to report schoolchildren with extreme opinions to the intelligence services, something which has caused opposition from within the party, not least from the youth wing. It has campaigns strongly against terrorism and criminality. While these tactics may have helped to more than double party support in the 2002 elections (to 13.3%), they have also provoked accusations of betraying liberal ideology from within leftist factions of the party, and led to criticism from the strong liberal press in Sweden. However, the party, which has historically been the most pro-immigration Swedish party, has also proposed measures intended to make it easier for foreigners to visit relatives living in Sweden, and to ease restrictions on economic migrants, for which it has been opposed by the governing Social Democrats. In its policy on integration, the party support more open immigration combined with measures to help new arrivals to integrate into Swedish society.

2006 computer hacking scandal

On 4 September 2006, only weeks before the

  • Folkpartiet official site (Swedish)
  • Liberal People's Party English-language site (English)
  • Folkpartiet: Sweden's liberal party - a factsheet about the party and its policies (.pdf format) (English)
  • The Swedish Parliament: The Liberal Party (English)

External links

  1. ^ Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  2. ^ a b Hans Slomp (26 September 2011). Europe, A Political Profile: An American Companion to European Politics [2 volumes]: An American Companion to European Politics. ABC-CLIO. p. 433.  
  3. ^ "FP utmanar vänstern med liberal feminism". Dagens Nyheter. 2014-07-06.
  4. ^ a b c "The Liberal Party - Folkpartiet", Sveriges Radio/Radio Sweden
  5. ^
  6. ^ Josep M. Colomer (25 July 2008). Political Institutions in Europe. Routledge. p. 261.  
  7. ^ "2014: Val till landstingsfullmäktige - Valda", Valmyndigheten, 2014-09-28
  8. ^ "2014: Val till kommunfullmäktige - Valda", Valmyndigheten, 2014-09-26
  9. ^ Christina Bergqvist (1 January 1999). Equal Democracies?: Gender and Politics in the Nordic Countries. Nordic Council of Ministers. p. 320.  
  10. ^ Thomas Banchoff; Mitchell Smith (12 November 2012). Legitimacy and the European Union: The Contested Polity. Taylor & Francis. p. 123.  
  11. ^ Political and Economic Dictionary of Western Europe
  12. ^ a b "Folkpartiet – historia och ideologi", DN, 2011-04-18
  13. ^ "Alliansens ståndaktige soldat", SVD, 23-07-2014
  14. ^ Ett liv för Baltikum : journalistiska memoarer. - Stockholm : Timbro, 2002. - 351 s. : ill. - ISBN 91-7566-530-1
  15. ^ "Partisympatiundersökningen (PSU) i maj 2014 – Partisympatier" (in Svenska). Statistiska centralbyrån. 2014-06-03. Retrieved 2015-07-27. 
  16. ^ Liberal admits Social Democrat computer hack, The Local, September 4, 2006 (English)
  17. ^ Press officer behind Liberals' computer scandal, The Local, September 4, 2006 (English)
  18. ^ Police to question more Liberal activists, The Local, September 5, 2006 (English)
  19. ^ Liberal party secretary resigns, The Local, September 5, 2006 (English)
  20. ^ Three convicted for people's party's computer infringement, Sveriges Radio, April 27, 2007
  21. ^ Statistiska Centralbyrån, retrieved 8 July 2012


See also

Leader Took office Left office
Gustaf Andersson 1935 28 September 1944
Bertil Ohlin 28 September 1944 1967
Sven Wedén 1967 26 September 1969
Gunnar Helén 1969 7 November 1975
Per Ahlmark 7 November 1975 4 March 1978
Ola Ullsten 4 March 1978 1 October 1983
Bengt Westerberg 1 October 1983 4 February 1995
Maria Leissner 4 February 1995 15 March 1997
Lars Leijonborg 15 March 1997 7 September 2007
Jan Björklund 7 September 2007 Incumbent

Party leaders

Election year # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Government
1936 376,161 12.9 (#4)
27 / 230
3 in opposition
1940 344,113 12.0 (#3)
23 / 230
4 in government
1944 398,293 12.9 (#4)
26 / 230
3 in government
1948 882,437 22.7 (#2)
57 / 230
31 in opposition
1952 924,819 24.4 (#2)
58 / 230
1 in opposition
1956 923,564 23.8 (#2)
58 / 231
0 in opposition
1958 700,019 18.2 (#3)
38 / 231
20 in opposition
1960 744,142 17.5 (#2)
40 / 232
2 in opposition
1964 720,733 17.0 (#3)
43 / 233
3 in opposition
1968 688,456 14.3 (#3)
34 / 233
9 in opposition
1970 806,667 16.2 (#3)
58 / 350
24 in opposition
1973 486,028 9.4 (#4)
34 / 350
24 in opposition
1976 601,556 11.1 (#4)
39 / 349
5 in government
1979 577,063 10.6 (#4)
38 / 349
1 in government
1982 327,770 5.9 (#4)
21 / 349
17 in opposition
1985 792,268 14.2 (#3)
51 / 349
30 in opposition
1988 655,720 12.2 (#3)
44 / 349
7 in opposition
1991 499,356 9.1 (#3)
33 / 349
11 in government
1994 399,556 7.2 (#4)
26 / 349
7 in opposition
1998 248,076 4.7 (#6)
17 / 349
9 in opposition
2002 710,312 13.39 (#3)
48 / 349
31 in opposition
2006 418,395 7.54 (#4)
28 / 349
20 in government
2010 420,524 7.06 (#4)
24 / 349
4 in government
2014 336,977 5.40 (#7)
19 / 349
5 in opposition

Election results

General election results

The Liberal People's Party is a member of the Nordic and Baltic levels. The party's MEPs sit with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) parliamentary group.

There is also a women's organization called Liberal Multicultural Association, chairperson Anna Steele Karlström). Additionally, party members maintain a number of small ad hoc "networks" addressing specific issues.

The Liberal People's Party has a youth organization called Linda Nordlund.

Affiliated organisations and international memberships


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