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Immigration cut push from Sweden Democrats

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The Sweden Democrats have a young leader and hope to attract young voters. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT
16:16 CEST+02:00
In Sweden there is only one party that is openly critical of the country's high immigration levels - the nationalist Sweden Democrats.
After getting 5.7 percent of the vote and scoring its first 20 seats in the Swedish parliament in 2010, the party repeated its success in elections to the European Parliament in May 2014, securing two spots in Brussels.
 
Led by Jimmie Åkesson, 35, who joined the party's youth wing as a teenager, the group is focused on attracting first-time voters.
 
 
The party's main goals are to create a "responsible immigration policy, to take vigorous action against crime and ensure that older people have a safe and dignified old age," according to its website.
 
The Sweden Democrats have frequently accused both the governing Alliance and the other main opposition parties of "irresponsible" spending plans that they say focus too much on helping immigrants instead of Swedish nationals.
 
Here is The Local's guide to the party's main policies:

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Immigration
  • Greatly restrict immigration and use the money saved to boost elderly care and crack down on crime
  • Give those who have already moved here "more opportunity" to adapt to Swedish society by adopting Swedish culture and values
  • Tougher language and knowledge tests for people seeking citizenship, with applications only granted to those with "impeccable character".
  • Expand Sweden's support for the UN's refugee agency and spend more money helping refugees from developing countries
Health and elderly care
  • More hospital beds
  • More places in elderly care homes with better conditions 
  • Ban free medical and dental care for illegal immigrants
  • Boost care for terminally ill children
  • Cut taxes for pensioners

Crime

  • Strengthen punishments for serious and repeat offenders
  • Cut paperwork for police officers
  • Award higher damages to victims of crime

Welfare

  • Increase maternity pay to give more women the choice to stay at home with their children
  • Make family counselling free in all municipalities
  • More funding for late-night childcare for single parents
  • Make unemployment insurance compulsory and free
  • Unemployment benefits should be highest during first three months and then gradually cut

Education

  • Re-nationalize all Swedish schools
  • Boost grants designed to help schools in need of refurbishment
  • Increase adult staff numbers in schools to help tackle mental illness among children and help teachers spend less time on administration

Business

  • Abolish payroll tax for small businesses with up to nine employees
  • Reduced sick pay liability for all companies

Gender equality

  • Improve working conditions in the women-dominated public sector
  • End positive discrimination policies based on race or gender
  • Review custody legislation to make it less discriminatory against men

Transport and infrastructure

  • Focus on boosting transport links between Nordic countries
  • Increase student housing 
  • Invest in the forestry sector and other key rural projects
  • Protect small-scale farming

Defence

  • Boost national defence spending so Sweden can protect itself from any attack
  • Against Sweden joining Nato

Foreign policy

  • Call a referendum on Sweden's membership of the EU
  • Boost support for Christians who are persecuted because of their faith in different parts of the world
  • "Discourage Islamism" and totalitarian regimes
  • Closer Nordic co-operation in all areas of society
 

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