Christian Democrats (KD)

Christian Democrats (KD). The KD is the newest and smallest member of the centre-right bloc in Swedish politics.

The party emerged from the 1960s struggle about the role of religion in Swedish schooling.

Unlike Christian democratic parties elsewhere in Europe, the KD did not emerge from Catholic Social Teaching or even from the major religion in Sweden, the Church of Sweden, which is a Lutheran Church. Instead the party emerged from the so-called ‘free churches’, smaller Protestant churches which are often more socially conservative than the Church of Sweden (which is very liberal by international standards, it has allowed same-sex marriages since 2009, and now even has a bishop who is in one).

The party was the only party to vote against same-sex marriage in 2009 (this was before the Sweden Democrats entered the national parliament).

The party was historically very pro-life, but now has a moderate pro-choice view coupled with a desire to minimise the number of abortions happening in Sweden.

On economics, the party leans to the right but is perhaps more moderate than its coalition partners in the Alliance. An internal struggle now exists between those who desire a more Christian centrist party, however, and those who want something more radical, generally in the younger wing of the party. The party’s youth leader recently said he wanted the KD to be Sweden’s ‘tea party’.

The party’s primary voter demographic is amongst the free churches but its vote is also stronger with the elderly. For this reason the party often adopts strong positions in favour of pensioners, and the party has chosen to occupy the Health and Social Affairs Ministry, including the Minister for Elderly and Children Welfare.

The party did not win seats alone in the national parliament until 1991 and has been the smallest member of the centre-right for most of its history. Polls now regularly show it below the threshold for representation in the national parliament as its identity has been eclipsed by being the smallest member of the four party government. Its current leader, Goran Hagglund, is also broadly agreed to not be very effective.

The party is broadly Eurosceptic.

The KD are a rather unusual Christian Democratic party but nonetheless sit with the other Christian democratic parties in the European People’s Party. It is the third least loyal member of the EPP group, voting alongside their group 83.3% of the time. The only parties less loyal are the Moderates and the Finnish Christian Democrats, whom they heavily resemble.