Premiership of Leo von Heidenstam
|Premiership of Leo von Heidenstam|
|10 August 1867 – 12 December 1878|
|Premier||Leo von Heidenstam|
|Party||Independent (de jure)|
|Lesser Arms of the Government|
The premiership of Leo von Heidenstam began on 10 August 1867, when King Gunnar III of Geatland formally invited Heidenstam to form a govenment in his name, and ended on 12 December 1878. Leo von Heidenstam had been serving as the de facto head of government since 1 August, when Gunnar III asked Heidenstam to be Geatland's first premier. Heidenstam was succeeded by his deputy, Ingemar Ulf, following his decommission in 1878. Heidenstam's premiership formed the first leg of the eponymous Heidenstam era of Geatish history.
Field Marshal Leo von Heidenstam had gained renown in Geatland for his heroic leadership in King Rudolf's War and as well as his victory over republican revolutionaries in the Engström Revolt. After the Constitution of Geatland was signed and the country prepared for its first election, King Gunnar III requested that Heidenstam lead the first democratic Geatish government. Heidenstam was then a member of the newly-minted Landsting, the unelected upper house of the Geatish legislature. Heidenstam was initially reluctant to take up the position and instead wished to retire from public service. However, Heidenstam did not wish to refuse a demand from his king, and therefore accepted Gunnar III's commission. He was formally made premier of Geatland when Gunnar III opened the Riksdag on 10 August.
Heidenstam's premiership saw sweeping social, political and economic changes to Geatland. Heidenstam was a monarchist by personal affiliation but preferred to govern as a moderate. He therefore attempted to balance the wishes of the traditional Geatish aristocracy with growing demands for social and economic liberalism and democratization. He supported the liberalization of the Geatish fishing industry and the removal of sin taxes on alcoholic beverages, which caused a boom in those respective economies. He supported the nobility's land monopolies in Northern Geatland and threatened to deploy troops against illegal manifestations. Heidenstam's most crucial achievement was his securing unversal manhood suffrage for all Geatish males, regardless of whether they owned land or what religion they followed. Heidenstam allowed for limited rights for Geatish Catholics and directed Geatland's rapprochement with Azmara after relations between the two countries had been riven by animosity following King Rudolf's War. In terms of economic policy, Heidenstam supported Fredrik von Malmberg's reforms to the Götiska Riksbank, the central bank of Geatland.
As Geatland's first ever distinct head of government, Heidenstam was enormously influential in establishing the Geatish central government and defining the relationship between the Crown, the government and the Riksdag. Among Heidenstam's most influential decisions in this respect was to prefer the elected Folkting over the appointed or dynastic Landsting, though he was a member of the latter. Heidenstam submitted himself for questioning before the Folkting weekly and made government records available. He also staunchy supported the monarchy's right to participate in politics and guaranteed the nobility's privileged position in politics by requiring all bills to pass both houses. Perhaps the most important precedent that Heidenstam set was his decision to retire after his third term and eleven years of leadership. No premier since Heidenstam had served for more than three terms. During his premiership, Heidenstam never stood for election and was oficially a political independent. Nevertheless, during his premiership he consistently held the confidence of the Riksdag. He enjoyed mass public support, and his affiliates won landslide elections in 1871 and 1874. Heidenstam's decision to voluntarily step down won him endearment in the eyes of people. Heidenstam's assessment in Geatland is overwhelmingly positive; he has been consistently rated as the greatest premier in Geatish history.