Thorbjörn Fälldin

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Thorbjörn Fälldin
Thorbjörn Fälldin in 1967.
Prime Minister of Sweden
In office
12 October 1979 8 October 1982
Monarch Carl XVI Gustaf
Deputy Ingemar Mundebo
Ola Ullsten
Preceded by Ola Ullsten
Succeeded by Olof Palme
In office
8 October 1976 18 October 1978
MonarchCarl XVI Gustaf
Deputy Per Ahlmark
Ingemar Mundebo
Preceded byOlof Palme
Succeeded byOla Ullsten
Personal details
Nils Olof Thorbjörn Fälldin

(1926-04-24)24 April 1926
Högsjö, Sweden
Died23 July 2016(2016-07-23) (aged 90)
Ås, Sweden
Political party Centre Party
Solveig Fälldin(m. 1956)

Nils Olof Thorbjörn Fälldin (24 April 1926 – 23 July 2016) was a Swedish politician. He was Prime Minister of Sweden in three non-consecutive cabinets from 1976 to 1982, and leader of the Swedish Centre Party from 1971 to 1985. [1] On his first appointment in 1976, he was the first non-Social Democrat Prime Minister for 40 years and the first since the 1930s not to have worked as a professional politician since his teens. [2]

Prime Minister of Sweden Head of government of Sweden

The Prime Minister is the head of government in Sweden. Before the creation of the office of a Prime Minister in 1876, Sweden did not have a head of government separate from its head of state, namely the King, in whom the executive authority was vested. Louis Gerhard De Geer, the architect behind the new bicameral Riksdag of 1866 that replaced the centuries-old Riksdag of the Estates, became the first officeholder in 1876.

Centre Party (Sweden) centrist, agrarian and liberal political party in Sweden

The Centre Party is a liberal and Nordic agrarian political party in Sweden. Traditionally part of the Nordic agrarian family, the party has increasingly shifted its focus towards free market economics, environmental protection, gender equality and decentralisation of governmental authority. The party's major issues are national economy, environment and integration and it is represented in all of the Riksdag's parliamentary committees.

Swedish Social Democratic Party political party in Sweden

The Swedish Social Democratic Party, contesting elections as the Arbetarepartiet–Socialdemokraterna and usually referred to just as the Social Democrats (Socialdemokraterna), is the oldest and largest political party in Sweden. The current party leader since 2012 is Stefan Löfven, who has also been Prime Minister of Sweden since 2014.


Early life

Fälldin was born in Högsjö parish, Ångermanland, the son of the farmer Nils Johan Fälldin and his wife Hulda (née Olsson). [3] He grew up in a farming family in Ångermanland, [1] and, in 1956, he and his wife, as a newlywed young couple, took over a small farm. However, the farming authorities did not approve the purchase, as the farm was considered too small and too run down for production, and so refused to provide farm subsidies. This fight led him into the youth branch of the Swedish agrarian party Farmers' League (Bondeförbundet), which in 1958 changed its name to the Centre Party. He and his family maintained their farm throughout his political life, and when he resigned from politics in 1985, he immediately returned to it. [4]

Högsjö parish Place

Högsjö is a parish in Ångermanland in Sweden. It contains Högsjö new church and Högsjö old church. In 1971 the parish became part of Härnösand Municipality.

Ångermanland Place in Norrland, Sweden

Ångermanland  is a historical province (landskap) in the northern part of Sweden. It is bordered by Swedish Lapland, Västerbotten, the Gulf of Bothnia, Medelpad and Jämtland. Prince Nicolas of Sweden is Duke of Ångermanland.

Farmer person that works in agriculture

A farmer is a person engaged in agriculture, raising living organisms for food or raw materials. The term usually applies to people who do some combination of raising field crops, orchards, vineyards, poultry, or other livestock. A farmer might own the farmed land or might work as a laborer on land owned by others, but in advanced economies, a farmer is usually a farm owner, while employees of the farm are known as farm workers, or farmhands. However, in the not so distant past, a farmer was a person who promotes or improves the growth of by labor and attention, land or crops or raises animals.

Political career

Fälldin entered the Swedish national political stage when he was elected to the Swedish Riksdag in 1958 for the agrarian-rooted Centre Party. In competition with Johannes Antonsson, he became first vice-chairman of the party in 1969, and then chairman in 1971, succeeding veteran Gunnar Hedlund. In 1973, Fälldin proposed that the party should merge with the Liberal Party, but he failed to gain the support of a majority of party members.[ citation needed ]

Riksdag Legislative body of Sweden

The Riksdag is the national legislature and the supreme decision-making body of Sweden. Since 1971, the Riksdag has been a unicameral legislature with 349 members, elected proportionally and serving, from 1994 onwards, on fixed four-year terms.

Johannes Antonsson Swedish politician

Johannes Antonsson was a Swedish politician for the Centre Party. A member of the Riksdag from 1958 to 1979, he was interior minister from 1976 to 1978, and Governor of the province of Halland from 1979 to 1986. He also served as vice-chairman of the Centre Party from 1969 to 1979.

Gunnar Hedlund Swedish politician

Gunnar Hedlund was a Swedish politician. He was chairman of the Centre Party 1949-1971, Minister of the Interior 1951-1957 and member of the Riksdag (parliament) 1942-1976.

In the 1976 election, the Social Democrats sensationally lost their majority for the first time in 40 years. The non-Socialist parties (the Centre Party, the Liberal Party and the Conservative Moderate Party) formed a coalition government, and, as the Centre Party was the largest of the three, Fälldin was appointed Prime Minister. Two years later, however, the coalition fell apart over the issue of Swedish dependency on nuclear power (with the Centre Party taking a strong anti-nuclear stand), which led to Fälldin's resignation and the formation of a minority Liberal Party government.[ citation needed ] In 1978, Fälldin sued Aftonbladet for 1 krona after they published a satirical interview with him from a mental hospital in which they claimed he had schizophrenia. Fälldin claimed that this was illegal, but later lost the case. [5]

1976 Swedish general election 1976 election for the Swedish parliament

General elections were held in Sweden on 19 September 1976. Although the Swedish Social Democratic Party remained the largest party, winning 152 of the 349 seats in the Riksdag, a coalition government was formed with the Centre Party, the People's Party and the conservative Moderate Party, which formed Sweden's first non-socialist government since 1936. Centre Party leader Thorbjörn Fälldin, who had widely been expected to take over the government in the previous election of 1973, was appointed Prime Minister, the first not from the Swedish Social Democratic Party since Axel Pehrsson-Bramstorp's brief interregnum 40 years earlier.

Moderate Party Political party in Sweden

The Moderate Party is a liberal-conservative political party in Sweden. The party generally supports tax cuts, the free market, civil liberties and economic liberalism. Internationally, it is a full member of the International Democrat Union and European People's Party.

A coalition government in a parliamentary system is a government in which multiple political parties cooperate, reducing the dominance of any one party within that "coalition". The usual reason for this arrangement is that no party on its own can achieve a majority in the parliament. A coalition government might also be created in a time of national difficulty or crisis to give a government the high degree of perceived political legitimacy or collective identity it desires while also playing a role in diminishing internal political strife. In such times, parties have formed all-party coalitions. If a coalition collapses, a confidence vote is held or a motion of no confidence is taken.

Following the 1979 election, Fälldin regained the post of Prime Minister, despite his party suffering major losses and losing its leading role in the centre-right camp, primarily due to public disenchantment with the Centre Party over its compromise on nuclear power with the nuclear-friendly Moderates, and he again formed a coalition government with the Liberals and the Moderates. This cabinet also lasted for two years, when disagreement over tax policies compelled the Moderates to leave the coalition. Fälldin continued as Prime Minister until the election in 1982, when the Social Democrats regained power as the Socialist bloc won a majority in the Riksdag.[ citation needed ]

1979 Swedish general election 1979 election for the Swedish parliament

General elections were held in Sweden on 16 September 1979. Although the Swedish Social Democratic Party remained the largest party, winning 154 of the 349 seats in the Riksdag, the liberal interim government of Ola Ullsten was succeeded by another centre-right coalition government composed of the People's Party, the Moderate Party and the Centre Party, led by Centre Party leader Thorbjörn Fälldin. The three parties together won 175 seats, compared to the 174 won by the Social Democrats and Communists. It was the only time that non-socialist parties retained power in an election between 1928 and 2010. The Moderates dramatically increased their representation in the Riksdag, becoming the largest party of the non-socialist bloc, a position they have maintained ever since.

After a disastrous second election defeat in 1985, Fälldin faced massive criticism from his party. He resigned as party leader and retired from politics. His posts since that time included chairman of Föreningsbanken, Foreningen Norden, and Televerket. [6]

Föreningsbanken was a rural and agriculturally-focused Swedish bank, with branches all over Sweden, which merged with Sparbanken in 1997 to create FöreningsSparbanken.

Foreningen Norden, Föreningen Norden (Swedish), Norræna félagið (Icelandic), Norrøna Felagið (Faroese), Peqatigiiffik Nunat Avannarliit (Greenlandic) and Pohjola-Norden (Finnish), The Nordic Associations, sometimes referred to as The Norden Associations are non-governmental organisations in the Nordic countries promoting civil cooperation between the Nordic countries. Established since 1919, there are Nordic Associations in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Åland. Since 1965 these national branches are grouped in an umbrella organisation Foreningene Nordens Forbund (FNF), The Confederation of Nordic Associations. The co-operation between the Nordic countries include projects such as Nordjobb, Nordic Library Week and Norden at the Cinema.

Televerket (Sweden) company

Televerket, was a Swedish State authority acting as a state-owned corporation, responsible for telecommunications in Sweden between 1853-1993. Originally it was named Kongl. Elektriska Telegraf-Werket, which was founded in 1853. Its name changed to Kongl. Telegrafverket in 1871, Kungl. Telegrafverket in 1903, the prefix Kungl. was dropped in 1946 and the name was further modernised to Televerket in 1953. Televerket continued on with its telecommunications monopoly until corporatisation in 1992-1993 when it was renamed Telia, now part of Telia Company.

Personal life

In 1956, he married Solveig Öberg (born 1935), daughter of the farmer Albert Öberg and Sofia (née Näsman). [3] He died at the age of 90, on 23 July 2016. [7] [8] The funeral was held on 11 August 2016 in Härnösand Cathedral, and he was buried at Högsjö Cemetery in Högsjö, Härnösand Municipality. [9]


During his 27 years as a national politician, Fälldin was generally appreciated in most political camps for his straightforwardness, unpretentiousness, and willingness to listen to all views. His two periods as Prime Minister were far from easy; trying to get three very different parties to work together in a coalition, while Sweden underwent its worst recession since the 1930s.[ citation needed ]

Fälldin refused to allow security concerns to rule his life. During his years as Prime Minister, he lived on his own in a small rented apartment in central Stockholm, while his family ran the farm up in northern Sweden. He did his own cooking and carried out the garbage in the morning to the communal dustbins in the backyard, before taking a brisk 15-minute walk to his office, shadowed at a distance by an unmarked police car which had been waiting outside the apartment block - his only concession to the security concerns.[ citation needed ]

While serving as Prime Minister during the U 137 crisis in October–November 1981, Fälldin is remembered for the simple answer "Hold the border!" (Håll gränsen!) to the request for instructions from the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces when faced with a suspected Soviet raid to free the stranded submarine. [10]


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  1. 1 2 Marklund, Kari, ed. (1992). "Fälldin, Thorbjörn". Nationalencyklopedin (in Swedish). 7. Höganäs: Bra Böcker. ISBN   91-7133-426-2.
  2. Wilsford, David, ed. (1995). Political leaders of contemporary Western Europe: a biographical dictionary. Greenwood. pp. 132–39.
  3. 1 2 Uddling, Hans; Paabo, Katrin, eds. (1992). Vem är det: svensk biografisk handbok. 1993 [Who is it: Swedish biographical handbook. 1993] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Norstedt. pp. 362–363. ISBN   91-1-914072-X.
  4. Karmann, Jens (24 July 2016). "Thorbjörn Fälldin 1926–2016". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  5. Pär Fjällström (10 December 2017). Fälldin, Statsministern som blev bonde (Video) (in Swedish). Stockholm: SVT.
  6. Svenning, Olle; T, Per (2014). Sveriges statsministrar under 100 år / Thorbjörn Fälldin (in Swedish). Albert Bonniers förlag. ISBN   9789100132453. LIBRIS   13496022.
  7. Svensson, Frida (24 July 2016). "Thorbjörn Fälldin har avlidit – blev 90 år". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  8. "Swedish ex-prime minister Thorbjorn Fälldin dead at 90". The Local . 24 July 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  9. Stattin, Gunnar (29 July 2016). "Planerna för Fälldins begravning tar form flera toppnamn närvarar". Örnsköldsviks Allehanda (in Swedish). Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  10. Wolodarski, Peter (30 October 2011). "När ryssen kom sade Fälldin: "Håll gränsen"" . Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 24 July 2016.

Further reading

Political offices
Preceded by
Olof Palme
Prime Minister of Sweden
Succeeded by
Ola Ullsten
Preceded by
Ola Ullsten
Prime Minister of Sweden
Succeeded by
Olof Palme
Party political offices
Preceded by
Gunnar Hedlund
Chairman of the Centre Party of Sweden
Succeeded by
Karin Söder