Controversy over Left Party youth “cheating”

Ung Vänster, the Left Party's youth organization, registered a false number of members in order to get inflated state subsidies, it has been alleged. According to Dagens Nyheter, the organization knowingly cheated the Swedish National Board for Youth Affairs by presenting 11,000 more members than it actually has.

The incident is being investigated by the police.

But Clara Norberg Averbo, secretary of Ung Vänster, denies that her organization acted dishonestly. She blames the incident on a computer collapse.

“After (the crash), it was only possible to sort out how many members had paid the fee directly to each district. Those who have paid to their local association or organization were not in the system,” said Averbo to DN.

Stig Henriksson, member of the Left Party board, says the party must take measures against the cheating:

“We must show that we are looking at the allegations seriously. If they prove to be true, then we can conclude that our youth organization has performed an financial crime of the sort that the Left Party fights in other contexts,” said Henriksson to DN.

His suggestion is to freeze all upcoming contributions until the matter has been cleared.

“If Ung Vänster does not have the strength that we in the party thought they had, I think it is wrong that a poor political party like us should give away part of our financial support to the youth organization,” said Henriksson.

The number of members Ung Vänster has does not directly influence the amount of money it gets from the Left Party. Ten percent of the state contribution will go to Ung Vänster. So far, they have received one million crowns this year.

But not all members of the board for the Left Party agree with such a drastic measure. The secretary, Pernilla Zethraeus, would rather wait for the result of the police investigation.

“There is no reason to act before we know what really happened. No payments are processed during the summer and I will not choose sides in this matter. I want to wait for the investigation’s result,” said Zethraeus to DN.

A number of suggestions are being discussed at the Swedish National Board for Youth Affairs that will make it harder to cheat. They are trying to come up with a better way to base their contributions on. At the moment, the number of paying members is still the best guidance. On the 30th of October a new proposition will be presented for the government.