Feminist Initiative enters election race

Feminist Initiative (FI) has announced that it intends putting forward candidates for Sweden's next general election in 2010.

Feminist Initiative enters election race

The party has also said it will contest the next municipal, county and EU elections.

Speaking at a press conference in Stockholm on Monday, spokeswoman Gudrun Schyman said that the party would hold a meeting in May to officially approve the move.

According to the party board, the need for a feminist alternative in parliament has grown since the last general election.

Feminist Initiative received 37,954 votes, or 0.68 percent of all ballots cast, in the 2006 general election.

Monday’s announcement follows a controversial decision early last year to award Feminist Initiative a state grant to which political parties are not entitled.

The state body charged with awarding grants to gender equality projects awarded a total of 8.3 million kronor to 27 women’s organizations in January 2007. One of the beneficiaries was FI, which received an ‘establishment grant’ worth 400,000 kronor.

The rules governing the distribution of state grants to women’s organizations however clearly state that political parties intending to contest a general election are not eligible.

“Grants may not be awarded to projects which are, or shall be, run by political parties or their women’s organizations,” according to official regulations.

Aware of this legal hindrance, the awarding body found a way to circumvent its own rules.

“Since the delegation cannot award grants to organizations that intend participating in general elections, the grant is conditional on FI not deciding to do so in 2007,” said the gender equality delegation in a statement.

Conveniently for FI, there were no elections in 2007.