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The Prime Minister's on the phone

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13:16 CEST+02:00

Almost 7,500 Social Democrats are to receive a telephone call from Prime Minister Göran Persson. His recorded voice will urge them to vote in the forthcoming Swedish Church election.

"This is the first time this method has been used in Sweden," said the Social Democrats' press officer, Manuel Ferrer.

On September 15th the 7,500 party members will be called simultaneously. When they answer, they will hear a pre-recorded voice message from Persson encouraging them to get out and vote. If they don't answer, the PM will call back later.

The telephone campaign is a way for the Social Democrats to try to stop the anti-immigrant party, the Sweden Democrats, in the church election on September 18th.

The Social Democrats who will be called live in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Katrineholm, where the Sweden Democrats are mobilising their resources. It is thought that a low voter turnout will make it more likely that they will earn seats on the church council.

Manuel Ferrer believes that the telephone campaign could strengthen the message sent out by post to party members.

"We feel that this is a very direct message," he said.

TT/The Local

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