Jan Björklund

Jan Arne Björklund (born 18 April 1962) is a Swedish Liberal politician. He was member of the Riksdag from 2006 to 2019, representing Stockholm County, and served as leader of the Liberals from 2007 to 2019. Björklund served as Minister for Education from 2007 to 2014, and as Deputy Prime Minister from 2010 to 2014.

Jan Björklund
Jan Björklund in Sept 2014.jpg
Jan Björklund during the Swedish election debate in September 2014
Swedish Ambassador to Italy
Assumed office
1 September 2020
Preceded byRobert Rydberg
Leader of the Liberals
In office
7 September 2007 – 28 June 2019
Party secretaryErik Ullenhag
Nina Larsson
Maria Arnholm
Preceded byLars Leijonborg
Succeeded byNyamko Sabuni
Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden
In office
5 October 2010 – 3 October 2014
Prime MinisterFredrik Reinfeldt
Preceded byMaud Olofsson
Succeeded byMargot Wallström
Minister for Education
In office
12 September 2007 – 3 October 2014
Prime MinisterFredrik Reinfeldt
Preceded byLars Leijonborg
Succeeded byGustav Fridolin
Minister for Schools
In office
6 October 2006 – 12 September 2007
Prime MinisterFredrik Reinfeldt
Preceded byIbrahim Baylan
Succeeded byHimself as Minister for Education
Member of the Riksdag
In office
2 October 2006 – 31 October 2019
ConstituencyStockholm County
Personal details
Born (1962-04-18) 18 April 1962 (age 60)
Skene, Sweden
Political partyLiberals
Spouse(s)
Anette Brifalk
(m. 1992)
Children2
Occupation
Military service
AllegianceSweden Sweden
Branch/serviceArmén vapen bra.svg Swedish Army
Years of service1981–1994
RankMajor
UnitSvea Life Guards (1988–94)

He was designated Swedish Ambassador to Italy on 28 May 2020 and took office on 1 September 2020.[1]

Early lifeEdit

Björklund was born in Skene (today a part of Mark Municipality), Älvsborg County (today Västra Götaland County), Sweden.[2] His father, Arne, worked in the textile industry; his mother, Ragna, came to Sweden from Norway as a war refugee in 1944.[2] He came from a working class home, and both of his parents lacked higher education.[2]

After he had completed upper secondary education (gymnasium) in 1982, Björklund enlisted in the Swedish Armed Forces, and earned the rank of officer in 1985.[2] He then served in the royal Svea Life Guards in Stockholm, from which he retired as a major in 1994 to start a new career in politics.[2]

Political careerEdit

Björklund early became a member of the Liberal Youth of Sweden, the youth wing of the Liberal People's Party, in 1976.[2] He was elected a member of the board of the Liberal Youth in 1983, and served as its second deputy chairman between 1985 and 1987.[2] He has served as a member of the board of the Liberal People's Party since 1990.[2] He joined the party's leadership in 1995, became second deputy chairman in 1997, and first deputy chairman in 2001.[2]

In the 1991 general election, Björklund was elected as a substitute member of the Stockholm City Council, where he came to serve on the city's board of education.[2] Between 1994 and 1998, he served as an oppositional vice mayor (Swedish: oppositionsborgarråd) in Stockholm.[2] Between 1998 and 2002, he served as vice mayor for schools (Swedish: skolborgarråd), and between 2002 and 2006, he served again as oppositional vice mayor.[2]

In the run-up to both the 2002 and 2006 elections, Björklund was chairman of the centre-right Alliance for Sweden's working group on education policy.[2]

Government minister and party leaderEdit

In the 2006 election, Björklund was elected a Member of the Riksdag; shortly thereafter, he was appointed Minister for Schools in the new centre-right cabinet led by Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.[2]

Following Lars Leijonborg's decision to retire as party leader at the Liberal People's Party's national meeting in September 2007, Björklund was unanimously nominated by the party's election committee as the new party leader.[3] He was elected new party leader on 7 September 2007.[4] At the same time, he also took over Leijonborg's positions as head of the Ministry of Education and Research, and as Minister for Education. However, the change in his title as minister was merely formal; his areas of responsibility were still those that he had as Minister for Schools.

Following the 2010 general election, in which the Liberal People's Party became the second-largest party in the government coalition, Björklund replaced Maud Olofsson as Deputy Prime Minister on 5 October 2010.[5]

Political viewsEdit

Björklund is often seen as a representative of the more right-wing, hard-edged faction of the Liberal Party.[3] He has focused most on school issues, where he is known for his support for orderliness and discipline. He has criticized the Swedish schools system for being too "dopey", and not focusing enough on knowledge. Among other things, he has advocated more frequent assessments and a reformed grade system.

In 2002, during the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, as first deputy chairman of his party, Björklund expressed his support for Swedish participation in the multinational coalition on condition that the invasion received broad international support – which it did not.[6]

In January 2009, Björklund criticised the downsizing in recent years of the Swedish Armed Forces, stating: "After the last years development in Russia, and the war in Georgia, Sweden must be able to mobilize more soldiers than we can today", he stated during an interview on Swedish news program SVT.[7]

Personal lifeEdit

 
Jan Björklund 2017.
 
Jan Björklund and his wife at Skansen, Stockholm, in 2010.

Jan Björklund married Anette Brifalk in 1992, with whom he has two adopted children, Gustav and Jesper.[2][8][9] He lives with his family in Bromma, Stockholm.[2]

He was a celebrity dancer in Let's Dance 2020 to be broadcast on TV4.[10]

BibliographyEdit

  • Leijonborg, Lars; Björklund, Jan (2002). Skolstart: Dags för en ny skolpolitik [Beginning of the school year: Time for a new education policy] (in Swedish). Ekerlids. ISBN 978-9-1896-1730-8.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Jan Björklund will be the next ambassador to Italy Jan Björklund ny ambassadör i Italien (in Swedish) Expressen. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Jan Björklund" (in Swedish). Liberals. Archived from the original on 1 June 2019. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  3. ^ a b Savage, James (15 June 2007). "Björklund nominated as Liberal leader". The Local. Archived from the original on 20 June 2007. Retrieved 15 June 2007.
  4. ^ "Folkpartiet har fått ny ledare" [The Liberal People's Party have gained a new leader]. P4 (in Swedish). 7 September 2007. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Sveriges nya regering" (Press release) (in Swedish). Government of Sweden. 5 October 2010. Archived from the original on 9 October 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
  6. ^ "Björklund (fp) vill ha svensk trupp i Irak-krig" (in Swedish). Ekot. 24 November 2002. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 15 June 2007.
  7. ^ "Björklund vill ha starkare försvar". Rapport (in Swedish). SVT. 19 January 2009. Archived from the original on 21 January 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2010.
  8. ^ "Det här är Jan Björklund" [This is Jan Björklund]. Familjeliv (in Swedish). 28 April 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  9. ^ Nilsson, Torbjörn (14 October 2011). "Björklunds osynliga kris" [Björklund's invisible crisis] (in Swedish). Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  10. ^ "KLART: Jan Björklund tävlar i Let's Dance". Aftonbladet. Retrieved 23 February 2020.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Minister for Schools
2006–2007
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Education
2007–2014
Succeeded by
Preceded by Deputy Prime Minister
2010–2014
Succeeded by
Åsa Romson (titular)
Margot Wallström (acting)
Party political offices
Preceded by Leader of the Liberals
2007–2019
Succeeded by