A third of Left party MPs to quit

According to a survey conducted by DN up to a third of the Left party's MP's could decide not to stand at the next election.

All apart from one belong to the modernising wing of the troubled party.

The Left party won 30 seats at the last election in 2002 and are part of the governing coalition. Of those 30, two have already left. Gudrun Schyman, has formed the new Feminist Initiative. And last week Karin Svensson Smith defected to the Green party.

Another seven MP’s have now told DN that they intend to step down at the end of the current parliament, with a further three still to make up their minds. Among those who have already decided not to stand again is Kjell-Erik Karlsson:

“I want a party open to all socialist ideas. Gudrun [Schyman] mapped out a path which I thought was positive and gave us a broad support with the voters. I wanted to continue down that path, but instead the party’s become narrower.”

He mentioned as an example environmental policy, which he claimed has taken a back seat to class and gender issues.

Anders Wiklund is another who won’t be standing.

“The party leadership needs to sit down and think seriously about the Left party’s political role,” he said.

Of the seven who have said they won’t be standing at the next election, six are from the modernising wing of the party.

Another of the modernisers is Tasso Stafilidis, who is still undecided:

“I’ll make my mind up after the next conference,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned what happens there will be decisive. If the party becomes narrower, I don’t intend standing. The vast majority of our voters voted for a broad Left party.”

The leader of the modernising wing, Lars Bäckström, however, intends to stay put.

“I want to continue the progress we made at the start of the 90’s in any way I can,” he told DN.

A clear majority of the parliamentary party support the line adopted at the previous conference and think recent talk of resignations, splits and crises has been vastly exaggerated.

And nobody seems to be missing last week’s defector, Karin Svensson Smith.

“I don’t miss her,” commented Peter Pedersen. “If you’re in one party, you don’t cosy up to another.”

“I’m just relieved,” remarked Rossana Dinamarca. “And I think there are many who feel the same way.”

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, SR

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