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Sweden's feminist party fêtes dramatic poll climb

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Sweden's feminist party fêtes dramatic poll climb
Fi leader Gudrun Schyman (C) at a party event. File: TT
11:39 CEST+02:00
Sweden's upstart feminist party on Monday welcomed news it had increased its voter support fivefold, but the social media savvy politicians still need a proper bump to get over the parliamentary threshold.

The Metro newspaper reported that a new YouGov poll puts the Feminist Initiative party (Feministiskt initiativ - Fi) near a two-percent voter approval rating. While the figure still represents a sliver of the electorate, it's worth bearing in mind that the feminists scraped together just 0.4 percent of the votes in 2010.

That percentage marks the equivalent of 24,000 voters - the population of satellite suburb Märsta. But the challenge to add voters did not faze party leader Gudrun Schyman when she spoke to The Local earlier this year about getting voters' attention. 

"We'll get in this time," she said. "2014 is when feminism gets its parliamentary breakthrough."

She welcomed Monday's news and said it was to be expected.

"I'm out and about a lot and I can tell that this movement is picking up speed," Schyman told Metro. "It's not strange that you can start seeing it in the polls now."

READ ALSO:  Cash-strapped feminists rely on home visits to lure voters

Another recent poll by Sifo put voter support for the feminist party at 1.3 percent. A party needs four percent or more to get into the Swedish parliament.

Gothenburg University political science professor Jonas Hinnfors said the five-fold climb in the polls was in part due to reaching out to voters on social media.

"How far it will take them is another matter," Hinnfors told the paper.

The Fokus magazine reported in February that Fi were outgunning the other parties - on Facebook. The piece, headlined: "Many likes, fewer votes" noted that current affairs had played into the hands of the feminists. The first was a televised documentary where the authors of feminist tome Fittstim (Pussy Shoal) revisited the theses they had put on paper ten years previously. The programme sparked lively debate and brought back to life many slumbering feminist questions.

The second factor, Fokus argued, was that several recent court verdicts in high-profile rape cases had whipped the public into outrage. One rape suspect, for example, said in court that he had not interpreted the woman's no as authentic. Fi had made good use of social media to debate the cases, Fokus noted.

READ ALSO: 'Her no was part of a sex game': rape suspect walks free

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