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Hägglund launches Christian Democrat manifesto

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11:56 CEST+02:00
The Christian Democrats have kicked off their election campaign at a rally in Halmstad, south of Gothenburg, with promises to reduce sick pay costs for employers, give respite to people caring for sick or elderly relatives, and to create a better school environment.

Before giving a speech at the town's Norre Katts park, party leader Göran Hägglund ran through the 57 points in the party manifesto at a press conference.

Hägglund said the overarching aim of the manifesto was to stimulate greater dialogue between citizens and politicians.

"Parental leave should not be split up into quotas for fathers and mothers - families should be able to decide entirely depending on their circumstances and wishes," he said.

Parents should also be more visible in schools, Hägglund said. The Christian Democrats are proposing a so-called Responsibility Contract, which would give parents a role in schools. The party also wants to offer children a contract that would guarantee that they can read, write and add up when they leave school.

Schools should have a school nurse or a counsellor available for children every day.

"There needs to be an adult contact person who can pick up when children are having a bad time at school".

The party also said it wanted to handle disrespectful behaviour in society. It announced the creation of a 'Respect Delegation', which is intended to continually monitor laws, taxes and benefits rules to determine whether they promote respectful behaviour or not.

In order to help companies, the party proposes reducing the costs of sick pay. Companies currently pay employees for the first two weeks that they are off work due to illness. The Christian Democrats want to reduce this to one week.

The party has also been eyeing moves on the other side of Öresund, in Denmark, where short-term employment has been made easier.

The rights of the elderly and sick also need to be strengthened, the party thinks. A package of rights, known as the 'Dignity Guarantee' should be introduced. They would give, among other things, the right for old people living in old people's homes or in their own homes the right toleave the house every day, if they want. People who do not get to do this should be given compensation from the council.

"Many people are today forced to live lonely and un-enriching lives," Hägglund said.

He admitted that the Christian Democrats could get their measures through by themselves, but said that negotiations with the Alliance on the points in the manifesto would come later.

"We will put all our energy into turning our manifesto into reality. It should be clear that this is what we stand for," he said.

Hägglund toned down any desire to be the Alliance's prime ministerial candidate.

"The person who leads the largest party will have the right to that post," he said. According to current opinion polls that is almost certain to be Moderate Party leader Fredrik Reinfeldt in the event of an Alliance victory. The Christian Democrats are usually shown in polls to be the Alliance's smallest party.

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