• Sweden's news in English

Top ten: An idiot's guide to Swedish politics

The Local · 23 May 2014, 15:02

Published: 23 May 2014 06:02 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 May 2014 15:02 GMT+02:00

(In alphabetical order after the parties' Swedish names) 
Centre Party (Centerpartiet)
Top candidate: Kent Johansson 
The party has always had close ties to rural Sweden and environmental issues, and was founded over 100 years ago as the Farmers' League (Bondeförbundet). It joined a coalition in 2006 to succesfully dethrone the Social Democrats. They have an EU policy platform available and promise "a leaner and sharper EU". In Brussels, they are part of the liberal group in parliament.
Key points:
- No to the euro 
- No to EU micromanagement.
- Yes to the EU doing fewer things "but doing them better"
- Yes to investing in green tech as a way out of the economic crisis  
Feminist Initiative (Feministiskt initiativ)
Top candidate: Soraya Post
The party that has surprised some, delighted others with its steady climb in the polls and hopes to send Sweden's only Roma candidate to Brussels. Their slogan is the feisty "Out with the racists, in with the feminists". It argues that feminism is applicable to all attempts to break up unequal representation and a tool to combat discrimination. "We challenge the image of Sweden and Europe as the paradise of gender equality," the party writes in English." This is a false image that diminishes the existing problems and stands in the way of genuine change."
- Yes to open borders - "everyone has a right to safety" 
- No to militarization and weapons exports
- No to men's violence, trafficking, prostitution
- Yes to prioritizing gender equality
Liberal Party (Folkpartiet)
Top candidate: Marit Paulsen 
Part of the governing Alliance, the Liberals are Sweden's fourth largest party and boast three seats in the European Parliament. They are, as the name suggests, Liberals. But they have thrown in their lot with the Alliance, which is dominated by the Moderates further to the right. You can read their EU goals PDF in English on this page. The party is also a strong advocate for the euro, making it a bit of a loner on that issue on the Swedish political landscape. Paulsen refers to herself as an old biddy (tant) on her election posters.
Key points:
- Yes to a "European FBI"
- Yes to finding ways to adapt to climate change 
- Yes to a net zero carbon footprint
- Yes to a closer look at human rights
Christian Democrats (Kristdemokraterna)
Top candidate: Lars Adaktusson
Another small party in the Alliance. One EU seat. With roots in the free-church movement, the party morphed into a movement focusing on the inalienable rights of the individual but also on promoting family values.They say members needn't be religious to join. Since joining the coalition government it has tried to carve out a role in social affairs, focusing on pensioners' rights and policies to allow parents to stay home with their kids. Top candidate Adaktusson is a former reporter - a "stubborn reporter" the campaign posters say.
Key points
- Yes to EU putting human rights on centre stage
- Yes to ditching Europe's reliance on Russian energy 
- Yes to a free trade agreement between the EU and the US 
- No to the EU meddling in member country's social security systems, such as parental leave
Green Party (Miljöpartiet)
Top candidate: Isabella Lövin 
The Green party tried to topple the government in 2010 by joining forces with the Social Democrats and the Left Party, but the coalition failed at the polls. Instead, the Greens cut a deal with the Alliance to co-legislate in migration policy, in order to keep the Sweden Democrats at arms length from new arrivals to Sweden. Their top candidate and incumbent MEP is a former environmental journalist most famous for crafty alliance-building in Brussels to finally cap fishing quotas. 
Key points: 
- Yes to fighting climate change
- No to mass surveillance
- Yes to greater insight into the EU's decision-making process
- Yes to recycling and collective transport
The Moderates (Moderaterna)
Top candidate: Gunnar Hökmark
The Moderates have been in power in Sweden since 2006 in part thanks to tacking to the centre, partly thanks to tax cuts and in part due to teaming up with The Liberals (Folkpartiet), the Centre Party, and the Christian Democrats - a unified front to break up decades of Social Democrat dominance. A pro free-market party that has put all its rhetorical focus on jobs, and has dubbed its opposition the social-benefits party. They currently have four seats in the European Parliament. Top candidate Hökmark studied business, reached as high as lieutenant in Sweden's armed forces, and currently sits in the European Parliament.
Key points
- Yes to making sure the free movement of goods, labour, and services works
- No to EU taxes
- Yes to a  a banking law to protect taxpayer money
- Yes to more careful monitoring of the EU's financial frameworks
The Pirate Party (Piratpartiet)
Top candidate: Christian Engström 
The Pirates performed pitifully in domestic elections (they have no Riksdag seats) but managed to pick up two seats in the European parliament in 2009 - although polls suggest they will lose one of them on Sunday. While file-sharing was their philosophical petri dish, the relative newcomers have turned into defenders of net freedom and strong civil liberties. 
Key points: 
- No to mass surveillance
- Yes to legalizing file sharing
- Yes to a free internet
Social Democrats (Socialdemokraterna)
Top candidate: Marita Ulvskog
Story continues below…
The workers party that dominated post-war Sweden until the 1990s. Short-lived leaderships by Mona Sahlin then Håkan Juholt after their disastrous election in 2006 left the party in the poll doldrums. And it remained there until Metal Union heavyweight Stefan Löfven, who is not an MP, was persuaded to take over. The party has climbed steadily in the polls ever since. It has seats in Brussels. Their lead candidate Marita Ulvskog, who was previously a government minister, is on the left of the party.
- Yes to foreign workers having the same pay and conditions in Sweden that Swedes do 
- No to worse work-place conditions
- Yes to combating tax avoidance and evasion 
- Yes to board-room quotas for men and women
Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna)
Top candidate: Kristina Winberg 
For the first time, the Sweden Democrats are taking aim at Brussels. At home, it got 5.7 percent of the public's votes in 2010. The party's slogan is "The Sweden-friendly party" and "Security and tradition". They are fundamentally against Swedish membership to the EU, which it says has undermined Swedes' ability to influence policy-making. SD only offers their policies for the EU in Swedish. The party has pointed out that its candidates are "normal people". Neither candidate has studied past high school. 
Key points
- No to European federalism
- No to centralized support systems, such as the common agricultural policy (CAP)
- Yes to a "democracy commission" to look into whether the EU has curtailed citizens' influence
- Yes to putting Swedish membership to a new referendum 
Left Party (Vänsterpartiet) 
Top candidate: Malin Björk 
The most left-wing party in the Swedish parliament, the Leftists want to protect public assets and welfare -  in the EU too. Their battle cry is "Not for sale", a reference to the privatization wave in Sweden but also across Europe. Top candidate Malin Björk calls the European Union clumsy and undemocratic.
Key points:

- Yes to a more generous refugee policy
- Yes to a EU strategy to combat violence against women
- No to wage-dumping
- No to the current proposed version of the EU-US free trade deal

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
14,000 illegal immigrants disappear without trace
Swedish police officers patrolling Stockholm. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

14,000 illegal immigrants disappear without trace

2 hours ago

More than 14,000 foreign nationals told to leave Sweden have instead gone underground, with police saying there is little they can do to enforce deportation orders.

Ahoy! Swede builds giant pirate ship in his garden
This picture of the boat has more than 14,700 likes on Facebook. Photo: Private

Ahoy! Swede builds giant pirate ship in his garden

2 hours ago

A Swedish man found Facebook fame after pictures of a giant pirate ship he built for his children when he was on sick leave from work went viral on Friday.

'She's a forerunner and inspiration for startups'
Niklas Zennström, Jane Walerud and Jessica Stark. Photo: SUP46

'She's a forerunner and inspiration for startups'

4 hours ago

A US-born entrepreneur who has helped pave the way for women in tech has joined the ranks of some of Sweden's top innovators and businesspeople in a Swedish startup hall of fame.

Swedish court: 'We cannot ban Pirate Bay'
Bredbandsbolaget was not compelled to block the Swedish file-sharing site, Pirate Bay. Vilhelm Stokstad / TT

Swedish court: 'We cannot ban Pirate Bay'

6 hours ago

In a landmark decision, a Swedish court on Friday ruled that the country's internet service providers cannot be forced to block controversial Swedish file-sharing site Pirate Bay.

Police: we can't protect Sweden from terrorists
Swedish police guarding the government building in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Police: we can't protect Sweden from terrorists

7 hours ago

After Sweden raised its terror threat alert to record high levels last week, more and more police officers on the beat warn that their weapons are not good enough to prevent a potential terror attack.

Swedish school: 'We have not banned Lucia'
Children celebrating Lucia in Stockholm. Photo: Jack Mikrut/TT

Swedish school: 'We have not banned Lucia'

8 hours ago

A Swedish nursery school has insisted it is not banning a beloved December tradition after a Facebook message posted by a furious parent went viral.

Winter in Sweden presented by Kungsberget
Stockholm's secret ski resort: Kungsberget
Catch air at the Kungsberget snowpark. File photo: Kungsberget

Stockholm's secret ski resort: Kungsberget

10 hours ago

Not everyone enjoys 8-hour car trips or expensive train tickets just to hit the slopes. That's why so many Stockholmers opt for Kungsberget – the majestic mountain just two hours away. The Local finds out more.

Winter in Sweden presented by Lofsdalen
Lofsdalen: The real Swedish wilderness
File photo: Lofsdalen

Lofsdalen: The real Swedish wilderness

11 hours ago

Sweden has more than a hundred ski resorts – but there’s only one where you can sip your very own cask of whisky on the top of a mountain peak. The Local finds out more about Lofsdalen – one of Sweden’s wildest resorts.

Will Swedish shoppers go nuts for Black Friday?
Shoppers at the Walmart chain in the US on Black Friday. Photo: Gunnar Rathbun/Invision for Walmart/AP Images

Will Swedish shoppers go nuts for Black Friday?

11 hours ago

Stores are pushing to convince Swedish shoppers to embrace US sales day 'Black Friday'. But will the phenomenon catch on?

The Local Recipes
How to make Swedish mulled wine: glögg
Swedish mulled wine served the traditional way. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

How to make Swedish mulled wine: glögg

13 hours ago

One drink in particular keeps the Swedes warm in winter: glögg. The beverage has been a Christmas tradition in Sweden since the 1890s. John Duxbury shares his favourite recipe with The Local.

Sponsored Article
11 reasons students pick Stockholm University
POLL: Swedes back new asylum rules
Sponsored Article
Top five UK weekend getaways from Sweden
Five weirdest Christmas attacks on Sweden's famous straw goat
Sponsored Article
After Paris: 'The war is not only against Isis'
Blog updates

25 November

So What Does An Ambassador Do? (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"I know that my mum is super proud that I’m an Ambassador. But if you asked..." READ »


20 November

Editor’s blog, November 20th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, It has been a long and busy week for The Local as we reported on..." READ »

Five myths about Sweden's refugees
Sponsored Article
How Stockholm solved a startup’s housing crisis
How did this missing Swedish cat turn up in southern France?
Sponsored Article
Swedish researchers find Ice Age 'missing link'
Sponsored Article
Lofsdalen: The real Swedish wilderness
Sponsored Article
Beaches, bikes, and buds: studying in Malmö
Would you eat this Swedish pizza?
People-watching: November 25th
What do Swedes want for Christmas?
GUIDE: How to help refugees if you live in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Sweden must combat extremist 'mirage'
Mystery ice circle in Swedish river
IN PICTURES: New royal winter snaps of Sweden's Princess Estelle
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
How to figure out healthcare abroad
Stockholm film festival's top movies
Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: the new epicentre of global leadership
Susanne Walström/imagebank.sweden.se
Sponsored Article
‘Food choices in Sweden destroy forests in Asia’
People-watching: November 20th-22nd
Swedish King calls for bathtub ban
Analysis & Opinion
Why you should care about Sweden raising its terror threat level
Sponsored Article
The cheapest and fastest way to transfer money
Stockholm's best international bars
Is this the best warning sign ever?
Why are more Swedes getting fat?
Sweden's tribute to Paris victims
What is Sweden's sexiest name?
VIDEO: Madonna's emotional tribute to Paris victims at Stockholm gig
Nine of the merriest Swedish Christmas fairs
Sweden cashes in on new kronor banknotes
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at: