Taxpayers prop up political parties

The amount of money paid out in grants to Sweden's political parties has risen by more than 40 percent over the last seven years, according to figures compiled by public television news programme Rapport.

Last year, grants paid out by Sweden’s local councils, counties and parliament boosted the parties’ coffers by over one billion kronor ($162 million).

Political party payouts grew at four times the rate of inflation in a period during which the parties were deserted by one in four of their members.

Leif Lewin, a political scientist at Uppsala University, is critical of the development.

“This undermines democracy,” he told Rapport.

“It is very dubious from a democratic standpoint that there are fewer members, there is lower electoral participation and increased mistrust in politicians, and all the while they are instead seeking support by awarding themselves grants in this way”.

The parties receive grants in accordance with their relative size. Rapport’s calculations showed that the parties were awarded payments of the following magnitude last year: Social Democrats, 341.9 million kronor; Moderate Party, 236.3 million kronor; Liberal Party, 94.5 million kronor; Centre Party, 86.8 million kronor; Left Party, 76.7 million kronor; Cristian Democrats, 74.8 million kronor; Green Party, 61.3 million kronor; Sweden Democrats, 11.6 million kronor; Others, 30.1 million kronor.