After eleven years as the leader of Sweden’s Centre Party and sixteen as a member of Parliament, Alumna Annie Lööf will finally get the chance to recharge her batteries this summer. She is proud and happy at what she has had the chance to experience and everything that she has achieved. Now she feels she has had enough and is ready to move on. Most of all, she is looking forward to doing things with her children.
The second of February 2023 was Annie Lööf’s last day as the leader of the Centre Party; naturally, one wonders what she actually got up to on the third of February?
“Ha! I carried on working in Parliament for another three weeks! I took part in the Centre Party’s local government days, meeting members from up and down the country and supporting the newly elected leader Muharrem Demirok, then I travelled to my family and was completely off that weekend. We ate well, slept a lot and did whatever the kids wanted to do.”
Lund – the obvious choice
Annie Lööf arrived at Lund University in 2003, with the aim of obtaining a law degree. Lund was the obvious choice, and it was just far enough away, yet still close enough, to her home town of Värnamo. She ended up spending “only” three years in the city – three lovely years – before she was elected to Parliament in 2006 and moved to Stockholm. She missed Lund’s cobbled streets and the baguette-lunches from Widerbergs, along with evenings out with friends at the “Nations” student social clubs.
“I was a member of Halland’s Nation, because they had a football team, but did most of my partying at Lund’s, Östra Götaland’s and Gothenburg’s nations. Unfortunately I was not active in other activities like student spex and unions, though I was national vice-chair of the Centre Party’s youth organisation, CUF, while I was studying and one year I campaigned for election to Parliament (and got in). So I studied, partied with friends and beyond that I travelled the country being politically active.”
The murder threat was not key in the decision to step down
On 15 September 2022, Annie announced that she intended to resign as party leader of the Centre Party.
She had previously decided that it was to be her last election campaign. She was not going to take part in the 2026 election as party leader, but still had her sights set on a good election result and being able to work in government for a few years or in Parliament under a confidence and supply arrangement. But when the results arrived and there was a majority enabling the Sweden Democrats, Moderates, Christian Democrats and Liberals to form a government, the time had come.
“As well as us ending up in opposition, and me having been in the post for a very long time, the hate and the threats I received, not least what was uncovered in Almedalen, did play their part. That took me to my limit. I was done, I felt. The plan to assassinate me in Almedalen was not decisive in making my mind up about resigning; rather, it came down to a whole series of things that made me feel it was time to round things off and do something else. I was proud and happy at what I had been able to experience and everything that I achieved, I’d had enough, and I felt I had finished. It was time for new forces to take over. So, for me, it was natural, it was not dramatic. They were incredibly eventful years – good years.”
New book goes behind the scenes
One (at least your average woman or man) might expect to want to have a bit of a holiday after that, but not Annie! Instead, as she rounded off her political career, she wrote a book during the spring entitled Också Annie (Also Annie).
In it, she wants to tell her story and bring the reader behind the scenes in an era in which the world, Swedish society and she herself have changed. In 2018, she released a book called Sanningens Ögonblick (The Moment of Truth), one she describes as a “mid-stride” trample. Också Annie is different, and more personal. It deals with her almost twenty years in politics, but also the private side of her life.
“I’ve grown up in the public eye, and I want to tell my personal story in this book. This is no ordinary political autobiography, which often means a long CV full of name-dropping of the people you have met. I hope that this book gets beneath the surface, up-close and personal both in terms of my successes and the struggles I’ve been through, both as a politician and as a person.”
Annie has always strived to be herself in her political public role and she points out that doing so builds trust and strength.
“Of course there are things that I do not admit to myself or to anyone else while holding these important posts, and with the book’s title I want to show that what I describe in the book is also me – there is more of me, both for myself and for others, that I have not let out of the bag until now.”
The book will be published by Forum in September. So, before all the release parties and book fairs get underway, surely it is finally time for some vacation?
“Yes, we are going to be in our cottage all summer, and just take each day as it comes. Let the weather and the kids decide what we are going to do. I also received, as farewell gifts, entry tickets to various theme parks in Sweden for the whole family, so I expect there will be one or two fun parks too. And probably a bit of working out and running too.”
On Midsummer Eve, Annie and her family gear up the classic Swedish way, with a maypole, herring, schnapps and floral crowns, and a warm coat or umbrella on standby.
But summer is short. What is she going to do after that?
“This spring I have been involved with a number of companies working towards a green transition and I have also started a company of my own. My plan is to build on that over the next year, do some public speaking, be an advisor and work on various boards with a focus on social and environmental sustainability. We will have to wait and see though, I am not closing any doors, rather that I want to continue being active in changing society, but from a new platform now.”
Don’t miss this!
Six quick-fire holiday questions with Annie Lööf exclusively on Instagram @alumni_lunduniversity
Also, don’t miss Annie Lööf on Swedish Radio
On 24 June, Annie Lööf will be the first this summer to host the iconic Swedish radio show “Sommarpratare”. Read more and listen here (in Swedish)