Frugal election year for Sweden’s new parties

The June List and the Feminist Initiative will be the paupers of this year's election, relying on private donations and sales of promotional material to fund their campaigns.

Unlike the established political parties, Sweden’s newest parties have no party subsidies to help finance their election battles.

Before the European election in 2004, the June List borrowed 1.2 million kronor from private supporters, partly to fund the printing of voting slips. And it is facing even greater financial pressure in the run-up to the parliamentary election in September, needing up to 3 million kronor according to party chairman Nils Lundgren.

“People who know about this sort of thing say that 5-6 million kronor is needed to run a campaign in the parliamentary election,” he said.

To meet that total the June List is also planning a fundraising campaign.

“If we get 4,000 people to invest 500 kronor that will be 2 million kronor,” said Lundgren.

The Feminist Initiative (FI) is also gathering funds from members. They hope to raise 1.5 million kronor by selling art posters for a thousand kronor apiece, money which will be used to print the voting slips.

FI is pinning its hopes on recruiting new members and is opening an online store with pins, badges and other such political paraphernalia. Spokesman Sofia Karlsson said she believes her party has less resources than the June List. And she did not dare to guess what the final election budget might be.

“Most of our members are women and many don’t have much money to invest. We’ll need to be more innovative instead,” she said.

Neither the June List nor FI are considering advertising or using large posters to promote their policies, relying instead on their supporters to get the word out.

Even the established parties say that their greatest resource is their engaged party faithful. But they also happen to have packed coffers to spend on their campaigns.

The Social Democrats say that their election budget will be around 50 million kronor – around the same as in 2002. After a poor showing in that election, the Moderates’ budget has slumped from 42 million kronor to around 25 million kronor this year.

“How much we have will depend to a great extent on how our fundraising activities go,” said party secretary Sven Otto Littorin.

During 2004 the Moderates received 10.5 million kronor from 14,500 people. Now the party is hoping its supporters will dig especially deep since it is election year.

The Liberals (Folkpartiet) have more than doubled their election budget since last time around, to 24 million kronor. The party, like many others, is planning to invest heavily in its web site and online advertising.

“But our experience is that money plays a small role,” said party secretary Johan Jakobsson.

“In election campaigns when we’ve had minimal resources we’ve still had a good share of the vote.”

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TT/The Local