Centre party to block bugging law

The leader of the Centre Party, Maud Olofsson, has said that she will block the new law on bugging if it is not changed before it is presented to parliament.

“The proposal is incomplete and a violation of personal integrity,” she said to news agency TT.

In Swedish Radio’s Saturday interview Olofsson explained that the Centre Party will request the postponement of the legislation if two key points are not altered. First, editorial offices should not be bugged, and secondly, people who have been bugged unnecessarily should be informed of the fact and offered compensation.

Justice minister Thomas Bodström said that he had no plans to change the proposal. However, since the Left Party and the Greens share the views of the Centre Party, the law will probably be delayed for at least one year.

The government wants the new law to be introduced on July 1st this year. But according to parliamentary protocol, any proposals which limit personal freedom and rights can be delayed for 12 months if one sixth of the members of parliament support such a move.

The Green Party’s spokesperson Peter Eriksson declared himself satisfied with the Centre Party’s stance.

“It will be good if there’s a postponement. Then this issue can be taken up in the election and voters can have their say,” he told TT.

The decision provoked surprise among the Liberal Party, alliance partners of the Centre Party.

“It’s a shame. The serious criminals will get another year’s head start,” said Liberal leader Lars Leijonborg.

“But we’ll live with it and expect it to be introduced in a year,” he added.

However, Maud Olofsson says she is prepared to go further to protect Swedes’ personal integrity. A side proposal to the bugging law is to allow preventative bugging could also be shelved.

“If it is incomplete and threatens rights in the same way as the bugging law, we will request a postponement on that issue too,” she said.

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TT/The Local