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Other parties to watch (in no particular order)

Here are some of the other political parties with the potential to have an impact in the 2009 European Parliamentary elections.

Pirate Party – Piratepartiet (pp)

www.piratpartiet.se

No MEPs

The party was created in 2006 following a crackdown by Swedish authorities on internet piracy. The party is dedicated to reforming copyright laws and abolishing the patent system. Long considered a bit of a sideshow in Swedish politics, the party’s membership soared after a Swedish court handed down guilty verdicts in The Pirate Bay trial. A recent poll indicated that the party now has enough support to gain a seat in the European Parliament.

Sweden Democrats – Sverigedemokraterna (sd)

www.sverigedemokraterna.se

No MEPs

This far-right party’s campaign slogan is “Give us back Sweden!” which refers to the Sweden Democrats’ wish to see Sweden leave the EU. While the party supports free trade, they see no reason for Sweden to be in the EU, believing that it pollutes the Swedish model of collective wage negotiation and employment rules. The party believes immigration and asylum policies are national matters which shouldn’t be decided upon in Brussels. It is against Turkey joining the EU and against Sweden adopting the euro.

Feminist Initiative – Feministiskt initiativ (fi)

www.feministisktinitiativ.se

1 MEP (ALDE)

Founded in 2006 ahead of Sweden’s national elections, the party is now setting its sights on Brussels to strengthen women’s rights and “prevent all forms of discrimination”. They want a woman’s right to an abortion to be considered a human right as well as the creation of an EU Commissioner for gender equity. The party also calls for an end to the militarization of the EU and complete separation of church and state throughout the EU. The party’s current MEP, Maria Robsahm, was originally elected to the European Parliament as a member of the Liberal Party, but later switched to the Feminist Initiative.

The party’s election platform can be found in English by clicking here.

The June List – Junilistan (j)

www.junilistan.se

2 MEPs (IND/DEM)

Created just months ahead of the 2004 European Parliamentary Elections, the June List shocked Sweden’s political establishment by gaining enough votes to claim three of Sweden’s 19 allotted seats. But the party failed miserably in the 2006 Swedish general elections and has been more or less absent from the political scene ever since. Nevertheless, it hopes to defend its seats, running on a platform which supports Swedish EU membership, but is against shifting any more power from Stockholm to Brussels. The party also thinks future EU treaties should be decided by referendum, rather than by the Riksdag. It opposes a common EU foreign and security policy, but supports further enlargement (including the admission of Turkey).

Step by Step guide:

1. The European Parliament in 30 seconds or less

2. European Parliamentary Elections

3. Who can vote in Sweden?

4. How do I vote and how does the election work?

5. Who on earth do I vote for on June 7th?

6. But what do the parties in Sweden actually want to do?

6 a.   Riksdag Parties (from left to right)

6 b.   Other parties to watch (in no particular order)

Back to the Election Guide main page

PIRATE PARTY

Sweden’s political pirates signal internet’s election power

If tech-savvy campaigning helped power Barack Obama to the White House, the election of Sweden's Pirate Party in Europe signals that Internet and related privacy issues are political drivers for young voters.

Sweden's political pirates signal internet's election power

The party, which wants an internet filesharing free-for-all while beefing up internet privacy, won 7.1 percent of Sunday’s votes, taking one of Sweden’s 18 seats in the EU Parliament.

“It’s fabulous political recognition,” 37-year-old founder Rick Falkvinge, an information technology entrepreneur, told AFP. “And it hasn’t come from the ‘establishment,’ the mainstream voters. It has come from the ground, the citizens, and it feels great.”

Founded in January 2006, the Pirate Party has attracted largely young, tech-literate males angered by controversial laws adopted in the country that criminalised filesharing and authorised monitoring of emails.

Its membership trebled within a week after a Stockholm court in April sentenced four Swedes to a year in jail for running one of the world’s biggest filesharing sites, The Pirate Bay.

With 23.6 percent of votes among under 30s, and 70 percent of them male, according to pollsters, the party has leapt from nowhere to the top of the table among a generation broadly characterised by political apathy.

“The old politicians don’t understand…,” added Falkvinge. “They see these issues as an isolated problem — they function far from the keyboard, and are not (digitally) connected.”

He claimed that state surveillance rights “threaten a way of life for a generation who have gone to the ballot boxes to defend” the technological freedoms they have grown up with.

Seen at its formation as a joke, the Pirate Party largely bodyswerved traditional issues dividing left and right, a political scientist at Gothenburg University, Ulf Bjereld, told AFP.

“They are seen as a protest party because they refused to be drawn on great areas of debate such as equal opportunities, taxation or pollution,” Bjereld said.

“They have concentrated on themes close to their heart and left the other parties to slug it out on other questions.”

Many members say they joined because they fear a “Big Brother” society.

The party also wants to do away with the lucrative system that grants major drug companies’ exclusive patents.

However, Bjereld was at pains to stress these developed world ‘pirates’ should not be classed among extremists, arguing such voters represent a new class of liberal.

He predicted that their elected member, Christian Engström, will sit in the parliament’s dual Brussels and Strasbourg chambers alongside mainstream liberals and greens.

It has picked up protest votes from left and right, but mainly mobilised those who normally bypass the ballot box, said the head of Sifo polling institute, Toivo Sjoren.

“If this party hadn’t been on the ballot paper, I simply wouldn’t have voted,” said Daniel Wijk, a 29-year-old website developer.

“These questions of protection of privacy and Internet freedom are what motivate me,” he added, articulating his anger at “policing” via modern communications technologies.

“We are not all criminals,” he said.

Looking to Sweden’s next general election in September 2010, political analyst Mats Knutson called the result a “formidable cold shower” for Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

“The Pirate Party has taken advantage of a new cleavage in Swedish politics, about civil liberties, about who should have the right to decide over knowledge,” Bjereld told AFP on Sunday.

The Pirate Party, which has sister parties in 20 countries, also fielded candidates in Poland and Germany.

More than half of US adults used the internet to engage in the race for the White House, according to a study released in April.

Obama’s use of the medium to raise money and volunteers was a major factor behind his November 4th victory, numerous political analysts have said.

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