Carl Haglund voted new chairman of Swedish People’s Party
New chair to be given ministerial post soon
The ascending career of 33-year-old MEP Carl Haglund took a new leap forward on Sunday when he was chosen as the new chairman of the Swedish People’s Party.
At the party’s congress in Kokkola, Haglund came out ahead of Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson by a vote of 144 to 106.
Speaking after the vote, Haglund said that he wants to raise the party’s profile in issues other than language policy, and to bring “new energy” into the work of the party.
Haglund replaces Minister of Defence Stefan Wallin as the party’s leader. Wallin plans to step down from his ministerial post and pass it on to the new party leader before July.
Haglund himself has said that he would have liked to have time to prepare for the upcoming municipal elections. However, he said after Sunday’s vote that the timing of the ministerial reshuffle is negotiable.
The new chairman expects to jump into his work quickly.
“Unfortunately, the last municipal elections didn’t go quite that well, except in Ostrobothnia”, Haglund said. He plans to be a candidate in the upcoming municipal elections, as well as the next parliamentary elections.
The Swedish People’s Party has lost ground in municipal politics in the City of Helsinki and in surrounding municipalities in the Uusimaa region.
In Helsinki, it might drop out of the City Board if it does not get enough seats on the City Council. This would be a serious blow to the party’s influence in the Finnish capital.
The party congress took a tough stance on plans for municipal reform. The party is staunchly against mandatory mergers of local authorities.
The key concern for the party is that public services in the Swedish language might suffer if predominantly Swedish-speaking local authorities become part of larger municipalities with a Finnish-language majority.
Replacing Haglund in the European Parliament will be Helsinki City Councillor Nils Torvalds.