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Elections 2014
Most Swedes lack info ahead of EU vote
The Green Party is one of only two parties devoting their websites to the EU elections. Here campaign manager Emma Rung presents the party's posters. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT

Most Swedes lack info ahead of EU vote

Published: 24 Apr 2014 12:01 GMT+02:00
Updated: 24 Apr 2014 12:01 GMT+02:00

A new opinion poll by Novus found that only 13 percent of Swedes surveyed felt they had enough knowledge going into the elections, when Sweden picks its 20 European parliamentarians. But 57 percent of Swedish voters feel they have not got enough information from the parties. 

A quick review of information available on the parties' website revealed that the Moderate Party and the Green Party had put the EU elections centre stage online, while the other parties made it a side-bar or subcategory.

The first slide on the Moderate Party website offered visitors portraits of its five top EU candidates. Two smaller items on the front page also concerned the union, one a clear link to more information about the elections, the other an opinion piece signed by EU parliamentarian Anna Maria Corazza Bildt about how cooperation was needed to curb the problem of begging.

While government coalition party the Christian Democrats post a link to more EU election coverage in a front-page sidebar, the two other government parties seemed less on the ball when providing information about the elections on their websites.

Visitors to the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) website faced a barrage of information about education in Sweden, the party's core policy issue. Visitor needed to click through seven slides to find a European issue, as Democracy and Equality Ministers Birgitta Ohlsson and Maria Arnholm addressed the right of Spanish women to safe abortions. 

The Centre Party had no European election information on its homepage at all, but visitors could get access to the headline "Yes to the EU, no to the euro" when clicking on a subcategory. 

While the opposition Social Democrats have a link to more EU election information high up on its front page, this was dwarfed by a social media campaign taking up much of the page. The smaller opposition Left Party has a subcategory up top clearly marked EU elections, and a press release from mid April with the party's stance against privatization in Europe.
 
The Green Party bucked the trend, however. A big portrait of its two candidates welcomed website visitors. 
 
The EU-critical Sweden Democrats had no info on their front page. 
 
The trust that Swedes placed in the EU was also gauged, with 60 percent of respondents stating that they either had little or very little confidence in the union. Yet 51 percent of polled Swedes said the country should remain a member, while one in three said Sweden should pull out. The survey found that 17 percent of Swedes hadn't made their mind up firmly about EU membership. 

Ann Törnkvist (ann.tornkvist@thelocal.com)

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