Convicted Liberal defects to feminists

European Member of Parliament Maria Carlshamre has defected from the Liberal Party to the Feminist Initiative (FI), blaming a lack of consideration for feminist issues among her former colleagues.

Carlshamre is the second name on the feminist party’s parliamentary candidate list which was published on Wednesday. FI leader Gudrun Schyman is at the top of the list.

In a press statement, Carlshamre said that this is the first time anywhere in the world that a party with an expressed feminist ideology is standing at an election.

“That’s why it is historic and I am proud to put myself forward as a parliamentary candidate for the Feminist Initiative,” she said.

On the list are 60 names, of which two are men. Schyman and Carlshamre are joined at the tope of the list by Devrim Mavi and Sofia Karlsson.

Maria Carlshamre said she was defecting to the FI because it was too difficult to push through feminist issues in the Liberal Party.

“The Liberal Party has forgotten its feminist heritage. It is not at all as central as it was in Bengt Westerberg’s time,” she told TT.

She claimed that equality was scarcely mentioned in the policies being put forward by the conservative alliance in the run-up to the election in September.

“The Liberals have become a law and order party,” she said.

Last autumn Maria Carlshamre was convicted of accounting crimes after the TV production company that she owned with her former partner was declared bankrupt in 2003. She could only provide accounts for one year and the firm had large tax debts.

In addition, assets of 386,000 kronor had disappeared without trace.

However, Carlshamre refused give up her European parliament seat, despite her own party’s request for her to quit.

“We think it’s inappropriate to be a lawmaker and at the same time to be a convicted law breaker,” said Marit Paulsen, second deputy chairwoman of the Liberal Party, at the time.

Carlshamre said that she does not believe the judgement against her will damaged the FI during the election.

She will leave her European seat if she wins a place for the FI in the Swedish parliament. There, she said, she will get involved in justice policies and men’s violence against women.

Carlshamre said she still considers herself to be a Liberal but sees no problem in representing a party which is generally positioned on the left of the political spectrum.

“Neither life nor politics is exclusively two-dimensional,” she said.

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TT/The Local