Nuder wrote book rather than casting Riksdag votes

Former Social Democratic finance minister Pär Nuder is facing questions for having written a book while still drawing his salary as a member of the Riksdag.

Nuder wrote book rather than casting Riksdag votes

Nuder hasn’t done anything worth mentioning in the Riksdag for a long time – despite drawing a monthly salary of 52,900 kronor ($8,700).

Instead, he’s spent the spring writing a book due out this autumn.

In January, Nuder was ousted as the economic policy spokesperson for the Social Democrats, after which he left his place on the Riksdag’s Committee on Finance. Since then he’s decided not to join any Riksdag committee, where most of the body’s parliamentary work takes place.

Throughout the spring, he hasn’t been very active in the Riksdag at all. The last time he participated in a Riksdag debate was back on November 21st of last year, and the last motion which he authored dates from October.

The same goes for written questions or interpellations. The last and so far only written question from Nuder since 2006 is from December 14th, 2007.

If the 33 voting days in the Riksdag this spring, Nuder has been present for just over one third of them – 36 percent.

The Riksdag’s rules for remuneration are based on the assumption that a member is on duty 365 days a year, meaning they have no formal vacation days or vacation pay. If they intend to do something else during a specified time, Riksdag members can request a leave of absence, at which point a replacement is called in to take over their responsibilities.

During the 1990s, the then leader of the Moderate Party, Carl Bildt, was criticized for not formally taking leave, but instead drew his full Riksdag salary despite his very sporadic presence. Even many members of his own party didn’t think it was feasible for Bildt to seek another term in the Riksdag in 2002, something he did not end up doing.

But the Social Democrats’ group leader in the Riksdag Sven-Erik Österberg doesn’t see any parallels between Bildt and Nuder.

“Not really, it was much more remarkable with Bildt. He was the party leader, while Pär Nuder is an ordinary Riksdag member. But it’s a transition period for Pär right now, he has been economic policy spokesperson, but the hope is that he will come back with other responsibilities,” Österberg told the TT news agency.

When asked how long someone can continue to draw a Riksdag salary without participating in a debate or sitting on a committee, Österberg hinted that reelection concerns generally limit one’s reduced participation.

“There’s probably a self-preservation instinct here that ends up solving itself. If you want to be reelected, you have to show what you’ve done,” said Österberg.

Nuder didn’t want to answer how he represented his voters in the Riksdag during the spring – or any other questions either.

The title of his forthcoming book is “Proud, but not content” (Stolt men inte nöjd).