The centre-right government alliance, today consisting of the Moderates, the Centre Party, the Christian Democrats and the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet), has robbed the Centre Party of their own identity, say several leading party members to newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.
“I think we smaller parties all feel the same way, that we’ve ended up in the backwater,” said Anders Flanking, district leader in Gothenburg and former party secretary, to Svenska Dagbladet.
The newspaper has spoken to all 27 local Centre Party districts, and reports that most are displeased with how the cooperation between the four centre-right parties has functioned, and therefore want to break free of this Alliance before the next election.
But the Centre Party’s party secretary, Michael Arthursson, maintains that most in the Centre Party continue to have a positive attitude towards the Alliance.
“We haven’t reached out with the Centre Party’s core value to enough people, but we’ll continue to work with that – within the Alliance cooperation,” he told news agency TT.
The Centre Party, one of the smaller parties in the Alliance, has repeatedly been left to compromise their principles, and alter their own politics.
One such principle is the question of nuclear power, which the party formerly opposed strongly. Today they’ve changed their tune.
“We’ve lost the image of the Centre Party as the little person’s party. There’s no getting away from the fact that governing has cost us, as a party,” said Per Schöldberg, district leader in Kronoberg, to Svenska Dagbladet.
Many of the district leaders criticise the Moderate Party’s way of handling their role as the largest party in the Alliance.
“They’ve ridden too much on their greatness. They should’ve been more humble,” said Lennart Pettersson, district leader in Skåne.
The possibility of an alternative cooperation, with other parties, is also raised by several Centre Party politicians, who take care to emphasise that the main focus should be regaining a unique party identity.
“Otherwise we become unclear for voters. They won’t know if they’re voting for the Alliance or the Centre Party,” said Kristina Bäckström, district leader in Norrbotten, to Svenska Dagbladet.
Current Centre Party head and minister for enterprise and energy, Maud Olofsson, announced in June that she will resign from her position as leader for the party at the upcoming congress in September.
“I’m satisfied, after ten and a half years as Centre Party leader. Now I’m looking forward to spending some time with my husband and children,” said Olofsson at a press conference at the time.