• Sweden edition
 
Bid to reform Swedish political donations fails
Melker Dahlstrand/Riksdag (File); Emil Frisk (File)

Bid to reform Swedish political donations fails

Published: 02 Dec 2010 15:08 GMT+01:00
Updated: 02 Dec 2010 15:08 GMT+01:00

Donations to political parties in Sweden will remain unregulated after the centre-right Alliance government remained unified against calls by the opposition for increased transparency for political party financing.

On Thursday, representatives from the four Alliance parties stuck together to vote down a motion from the opposition up for consideration in the Riksdag’s Committee on the Constitution (Konstitutionsutskottet – KU) which sought legislation to regulate financial contributions to Swedish political parties.

“It’s embarrassing for Sweden. We have a reputation for openness, but on this issue we’re lagging way behind other countries,” Green Party spokesperson Peter Eriksson told The Local following Thursday’s vote.

Eriksson’s Green Party, along with the Left Party and Social Democrats have pushed for increased transparency in political party funding since the election campaign. While the Social Democrats had previously opposed such efforts, the party joined the other centre-left parties in making a campaign promise to work toward regulating private donations to political parties if elected.

“We put forward the motion in order to reduce the risk for corruption. Nearly all western democracies have some sort of legislation in place. It’s not good to have people paying for political favours,” said Eriksson.

“We think it’s important to have these transactions happen out in the open so the media and the public can make their own judgments” about whether or not political donors may be unduly influencing politicians, he added.

The proposal voted down on Thursday would have required parties to make public the names of people or organisations that made political donations of larger than 20,000 kronor ($2,850).

It was discussed as part of a broader bill calling for deep cuts in the budget allocation for Swedish government offices' operations. As the spending bill also included provisions concerning the public financing of political parties in Sweden, the consideration from Eriksson regarding private financing was also on the table.

The Moderate Party and Christian Democrats have long opposed the regulation of private donations to political parties, arguing that exposing donors would undermine their right to confidentiality.

In addition, the far-right Sweden Democrats have argued against regulating party financing, citing security concerns.

Historically, the level of private donations has varied widely among Sweden’s main political parties. According to annual reports from 2006, the Moderate Party collected roughly 30 million kronor in gifts from private individuals, while the Social Democrats registered 3.4 million kronor in private funding.

The Christian Democrats reported private donations of 550,000 kronor, while the Green Party reported 160,000 kronor, and the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) claimed it received 100,000 kronor from private donations.

The Left Party and Centre Party, on the other hand, reported receiving no money from individuals in 2006.

During the 2010 election campaign and in the weeks leading up to the committee vote, both the Liberal Party and Centre Party had signaled their willingness to support the regulation of political party donations.

Had the two parties joined forces with the three centre-right parties, there would have been enough votes in the Riksdag for the measure to pass.

But in the end, both parties lined up behind their Alliance partners in voting against the proposal in the committee, effectively ending Eriksson's hopes of introducing new political funding legislation.

“I’m disappointed. There is actually a majority in the Riksdag in support of regulation, but two parties have chosen instead to join the Moderates and support a rejection of the motion,” said Eriksson.

“It doesn’t look like it’s going to be possible to pass any legislation this year, but we still plan to push the issue.”

Despite Thursday’s vote, the Liberal Party’s Karin Granbom Ellison told The Local that her party also plans to push for more openness in how Swedish political parties are funded.

“But today was just not the right time to take that step,” she said, adding that her party would like more time to discuss the issue before pushing for legislation in the Riksdag.

Granbom Ellison, who sits on the constitution committee, also pointed out that the proposal put forward by the opposition only covered financial donations, while leaving out other types of support often given to political parties.

“We also want to look at indirect support, for example the work that the LO trade union does often does on behalf of the Social Democrats,” she said.

Granbom Ellison also explained that the Liberals’ decision was also influenced by the fact that the Moderates and Christian Democrats don’t support regulating private donations.

“It’s important that the Alliance have more time to discuss this internally,” she said.

“We will continue to work for broad oversight [of political donations], but two of our partners aren’t ready to take that step.”

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

18:40 December 2, 2010 by conboy
I would love to know how much money changed hands in return for the decision to extend the Djurgärden-NK-Lidingö tram as opposed to where it was really required between Älvsjö and Huddinge Hospital/ Flemingsberg.
19:33 December 2, 2010 by Nemesis
There is a need to keep bribes and business interfering in politics hidden.
23:48 December 2, 2010 by farthinder
This is hilarious, that people are concerned about trivial amounts of money like this. Bloomberg spent $85.2 million to get re-elected MAYOR of New York City. Sweden has a long way to go before it needs to be really worried about corruption and money in politics!
02:19 December 3, 2010 by zircon
Oops!..............................................................................
09:16 December 3, 2010 by HYBRED
The results in this story is no surprise. Why would politicians want to risk hurting their money supply? Politicians are whores by nature. They are out to help themselves first, then they throw a few crumbs to the general public to get their vote. Transparency?? Yeah right, not in a million years. Not in Sweden or anywhere else.
09:29 December 3, 2010 by engagebrain
So exposing donors would 'undermine' their right to privacy.

and the voters right to expose the giving a receiving of bribes.....

No person or organization makes a large donation without expecting something in return. The voters have a right to know who has paid for what.
Today's headlines
Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden
Michael Boatwright (R) and Medieval knight re-enactors.

Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden

The "motel mystery" American who baffled US authorities by only speaking Swedish when he woke up from a coma last year has passed away, Swedish media reported on Wednesday. READ () »

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king

UPDATED: Scientists pried open the 850-year-old casket of King Erik the Holy on Wednesday, hoping to find out more about the king, his crown, and his eating habits. READ () »

TeliaSonera announces first-quarter profit drop
TeliaSonera CEO Johan Dennelind. File photo: TT

TeliaSonera announces first-quarter profit drop

Stockholm-listed telecom operator TeliaSonera on Wednesday said profits had fallen in the first quarter, but hoped offering customers more data solutions in the future would turn things around. READ () »

'Imperfect EU better than revolting nationalism'
Fredrik Reinfeldt. File photo: TT

'Imperfect EU better than revolting nationalism'

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Wednesday urged young voters to head to the European parliamentary polls on May 25th "to cure the European disease of nationalism". READ () »

Ericsson quarterly profit defies sluggish sales
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg at the first quarter press conference. Photo: TT

Ericsson quarterly profit defies sluggish sales

Swedish telecom giant Ericsson on Wednesday announced a drop in sales but posted a sharp rise in first-quarter profit, which nonetheless fell shy of analyst predictions. READ () »

Fatal Norrköping brawl
Four brothers held as cops fear brawl reprisals
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Four brothers held as cops fear brawl reprisals

Swedish police fear that several people involved in a brawl in eastern Sweden on Monday night may be seeking revenge after two brothers were shot dead. READ () »

Sponsored Article
Beautiful pearls of southeast Sweden
The town of Västervik.

Beautiful pearls of southeast Sweden

Ask a Swede, and they are likely to say that their favourite holiday spot is in the southeast of Sweden. Eastern Småland and Öland offer a smörgåsbord of all the things dearest to the Swedes - from the beloved children's book author Astrid Lindgren to deep forests, long sandy beaches, perfect spots for that all-important 'fika', and a surprising amount of space, peace and quiet. READ () »

Weekend weather to bring summer warmth
Swedes enjoy hot dogs and cherry blossoms in Stockholm's Kungsträdgården. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Weekend weather to bring summer warmth

The sun is set to stick around and temperatures could climb into the twenties over the weekend, Swedish meteorologists said on Wednesday READ () »

'Day-care rapist' admits molesting eight kids

'Day-care rapist' admits molesting eight kids

A 21-year-old man confessed on Wednesday to sex crimes against eight children at a day care where he was working as an intern. READ () »

Swedish cops nab man for having big muscles
An unrelated bodybuilder. File photo: Ann Törnkvist

Swedish cops nab man for having big muscles

Police in Sweden's south who hauled a muscular man in for steroid testing have had their knuckles rapped, after it was ruled that big biceps cannot be grounds for narcotics suspicions. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
TT
Gallery
Inside the 850-year-old king's coffin
Features
Sponsored: South-eastern Sweden offers Öland beaches and more
Gallery
Swedish underwear shop puts staff in front of the camera
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Local's Property of the Week - Täby
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - India Unlimited
Features
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - A film, food, and finance feast
National
University applications rocket to record high
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 18-20
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Advertisement:
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

719
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com