Alliance seeks to resolve differences

The conservative party leaders have agreed to try to resolve a number of key differences on energy, property tax and family policies. "We're going to make a bigger effort than before," said Liberal leader, Lars Leijonborg, at a press conference. "We're very keen to maintain the picture of a successful alliance. That demands that we come to agreement on a number of issues before the election."

Splits within the alliance have manifested themselves in various ways over the last week. The Liberals and the Centre party have had a public row over the latter’s latest understandings with the Social Democrats on energy and over the Liberals similar understanding on justice minister, Thomas Bodström’s, bugging proposal. While the Moderates rejected the Christian Democrats idea of abolishing property tax.

The party leaders met yesterday. Top of the agenda was whether they could unite to force a no confidence vote against Göran Persson. But the constitution committee was not ready with its deliberations and instead focus was centred on the conservatives’ disunity.

Energy has been a long-standing stumbling block for the conservatives. The Liberals want to expand nuclear power, while the Centre party wants to get rid of it.

“I don’t know if the problem can be solved, but we’re going to have another go. It’s incredibly important. There’s a lot of concern over the greenhouse effect and Swedish industry is struggling to cope with electricity prices,” said Leijonborg.

According to Leijonborg, the Centre party must scrap its agreement with the Social Democrats. The agreement means that a review will be carried out to look at the closure of another nuclear power station during the next parliamentary session.

“It goes too far for three of [the alliance parties],” he said.

Leijonborg believes property tax is a potential vote winner for the conservatives if the alliance can campaign on a concrete proposal for lowered property tax during their first year in office.

Family policy was an area where the conservative never managed to agree for the previous election, although attempts were made. The Liberals see child care as a key issue for women and as a means of getting more into work. The Christian Democrats prefer to emphasise the role of the family and the right for every family to make decisions for themselves.

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