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Punish failing politicians - Green Party

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19:27 CEST+02:00
Cut defence spending in half, extend parental benefits, create 40,000 new jobs in the public sector and introduce a 35-hour working week: just a few of the causes which Sweden's Green Party will be fighting for in the forthcoming election.

But perhaps the most interesting proposal in the party's election manifesto, published on Thursday, is designed to strengthen the public's hand when it comes to politicians. The Green Party is proposing a 'citizen's contract' to regulate public service.

If service levels do not live up to the promises of politicians, citizens should receive compensation.

"This means a big change for Sweden and is something of a revolution," said Green Party spokesperson Peter Eriksson at a press conference held at the Swedish parliament.

"The Social Democrats are not particularly happy that we're going to push this point."

There is currently a great volume of legislation protecting Swedes' rights, but that's not enough, say the Greens. Sanctions must be imposed when politicians fail to keep their promises.

The party's other spokesperson, Maria Wetterstrand, offered an example of what that could mean.

"If a local council does not meet the demands for kindergarten places, then parents should get the same amount of money that a kindergarten place costs," she said.

The election manifesto contained 34 points and more will be added when the party congress convenes in May.

One issue that will spark debate is Sweden's relationship with the EU. Once again, the party board has decided not to formalise the demand for Sweden to leave the EU. Instead, they say that they are seeking another form of European cooperation.

Jobs are at the core of the manifesto. The Green Party wants to use 10 billion kronor of Swedish Labour Board money to create 40,000 permanent jobs in the public sector.

But the majority of new jobs must come from small businesses, says the party, which also wants to introduce tax deductions and improved social insurance for people who start their own companies.

The party also wants the statutory working week reduced to 35 hours during the next parliament, and to extend the period of parental benefits to 18 months, of which 15 would be income-related compensation.

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