Christian Democrats (kd) - Percentage of votes obtained by the party at the election 2018 - over/under 4 %
Kristdemokraterna (KD), or the Christian Democrats were formed in 1964 with the ambition to safeguard what was perceived as marginalized Christian values. For a long time they were a party on the fringe without major public support. They were unable to raise enough support to pass the four percentage bar which is required to enter Parliament. This shifted during the later half of the 80's. The election in 1998 marked the party's high point when they received support from 11,77% of the voters in the general election. Since then, their popularity has been on the down slide and their numbers are now at the same level as the party's earlier days. How did Kristdemokraterna reach the level of support they did and why aren't they as popular now? To answer these question we have to look at their origins.
Organized Christianity in Sweden
Christianity swept over Sweden during the 11th century. For a long time it was marked by catholicism and what we today associate with Swedish Christianity came about during the 16th century. That also marks the period when the Swedish church became a influential organization. The Swedish church was for a long time a integrated part of Swedish society and state. From the 1950's and onward there has been an ongoing separation between church and state. Many of the tasks that were handled by the church on account of the state were transfered to solely the state. Such a task was the national registration. This culminated January 1st 2000 when the church by law was made an organization, no more or less than other religious organizations.
Christianity as politics
At the end of the 50's the Christian interest groups began organizing themselves. Much due to the fact that they perceived a wide spread marginalization of Christian values. An early ambition was to make sure that the society moved in a more traditionally Christian direction. People did not respond well and they did not fare well in the general elections. Not for many years would they receive support from the public.
Kristdemokraternas rise and fall
By the mid 80's the political message had been toned down to focus on issues right of center. They began focusing on questions regarding family, freedom of choice and child care. The new party line resonated well with the Swedish people and Kristdemokraterna and they reached the highest voter support they ever would. By the end of the 90's, Kristdemokraternas popularity began to fall. It's hard to say if this was due to themselves or due to changes in society. Since no apparent drastically changes were made in their politics, an answer might be found in societal changes.
In recent time there has been an ongoing discussion regarding whether or not Kristdemokraterna is a party on the middle or right side of the scale. Many feel that it's unclear where they stand on issues such as family and economy. In polls their support has been shown to be at around 3,6% which means they have again fallen below the parliament bar. This suggest that Kristdemokraterna is back at square one. So it's not unreasonable to state that they are in fact experiencing a crisis. Especially considering that they once were supported by one tenth of the Swedish population.
What does the future have in store for Kristdemokraterna?
It's hard to predict their course. They obviously have to get their numbers up in order to not be excluded from parliament. Can they grow stronger from expressing their politics more clearly? A lot is currently suggesting that the world is politically moving to the right. If Kristdemokraterna reconnects to their roots they might be able to benefit from this. But they should not ignore the risk of this being seen as a populist move.