Ten years ago Fredrik Reinfeldt became chairman of Sweden´s Moderate Party. It was a political party that had faced its worst election result since the 1970s and by many seen as party of the past. Reinfeldt changed this and turned it into a party that during these past eight years has been the natural party of government, and turned Reinfeldt into a first class statesman. It was a journey that not only changed the Moderate Party but the entire of Sweden.
It is impossible to overrate Reinfeldt´s achievement. He has redrawn the Swedish political map forever. Before Reinfeldt the Social Democratic Party ruled during more than 65 of the past 74 years and, it was fair, to call Sweden a democratic one party state.
This has now changed.
Sweden is a modern European country where governments come and go, and, most importantly, the Social Democrats are no longer the only natural party of government.
When history is written Reinfeldt will rightfully be called the most successful Moderate Party politician ever. He has not only changed the party and led us to government, but at the polls the party has achieved its highest election result ever. With the other non-socialist party´s he formed the Alliance and made us fit for government. We managed to do what every Moderate politician use to dream of – get re-elected. To put it simply, we have gone from being a tired opposition party to be a natural party of government.
Although success at the polls and the ability to govern is important, more importantly Reinfeldt leaves an ideological legacy. The “New Moderate Party” stated the idea that as a political force one must never stagnate but dare to acknowledge, address and change those problems everyday citizens find important.
This is an approach that is solidly based on the ideas of openness, freedom and the belief that every individual can affect his or her own life. We saw this and changed the party and the opposition had to adjust to us and not the opposite.
Among the strongest thing Reinfeldt has done is to defend the idea of the open society. An idea he never compromised on, and this deserves to be his greatest legacy. In a Europe where many parties appealed to xenophobia and protectionism has the Moderate Party and Reinfeldt chosen to go in the opposite direction. We choose to meet hatred with openness.
The populist anti-immigration Swedish Democrats where met with a broad parliamentary agreement that isolated them. Reinfeldt took every opportunity to propagate openness and call it what it is, every persons right to form his or her life, and to point out that this makes Swedish society more open, more exciting and more dynamic.
This is Fredrik Reinfeldt´s legacy and this must live on. Sweden today is better country than it was before 2006. More people are working, we have lower taxes, poverty is cut in half and almost abolished, and instead of moving from Sweden, business has chosen to move here.
We must continue on this successful road. More people must be given the chance to work for a living. The Moderate Party shall not only be a natural party of government, but also a vibrant ideological force that continues to deliver the answers of tomorrow and not of the past.
Thank you Fredrik Reinfeldt for everything you have done for the Moderate Party and for Sweden. Thank you for the fact that you showed that there are alternatives in politics that promote openness and freedom. You guided Sweden into the future and you never compromised with you ideals.
Reinfeldt created a party and a space in politics where I and many other young people feel at home. A party that not only took the fight for the fact that people deserves low taxes, but also for openness, tolerance and for equal rights for everyone.
You made it easy for me and countless other to wake up everyday and to fight for the Moderate Party and for our ideas.
By Erik Bengtzboe
Moderata ungdomsförbundet (Swedish Young Conservatives)