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Centre Party split over surveillance

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09:02 CEST+02:00
Sweden's Centre Party is meeting on Tuesday morning for eleventh hour deliberations ahead of Wednesday morning's parliamentary vote on the government's controversial and divisive surveillance bill.

The party's parliamentary group broke off its meeting at 2am on Tuesday and was expected to reconvene at Government Offices at 8.30am.

"But I can't say whether it will be to continue our discussions or to communicate a decision," Centre Party political secretary Jessica Bissmark told TT.

The meeting began on Monday evening and was adjourned after three hours "to allow a somewhat smaller group to sit down and find a solution, a sort of voting declaration, that the whole group can get behind," said group leader Roger Tiefensee.

Deliberations continued in smaller groups throughout the night and included discussions between Roger Tiefensee and "selected sections" of the parliamentary group.

Members of parliament Annie Johansson and Fredrick Federley have both expressed their opposition to the proposal, which would enable Sweden's National Defence Radio Establishment (Försvarets Radioanstalt - FRA) to monitor all outgoing and incoming communications crossing Sweden's borders.

Johansson and Federley both said they had decided how they would vote before Monday's meeting, though neither would reveal their intentions.

According to Roger Tiefensee, Johansson and Federley were not the only ones with reservations.

"There are several who have had major doubts, but at the same time we are all committed to holding the group together and resolving the issue," he said.

The Centre Party is one of four parties in Sweden's coalition government. The others are: the Moderate Party, Liberal Party and the Christian Democrats.

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