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Riksdag Parties (from left to right)

Below are several short election platform summaries for the seven political parties currently represented in the Riksdag.

Left Party – Vänsterpartiet (v)

www.vansterpartiet.se

2 MEPs (EUL-NGL)

The Left Party calls itself a “socialist and feminist” party. It is anti-EU and wants Sweden to leave the union altogether. Nevertheless, it argues the importance of having a strong Euro-sceptic in the European Parliament in order to “use all the influence given to us by democracy” to change the winds in Brussels. Not surprisingly, it also wants Sweden to keep the krona, calling the European Central Bank “the most undemocratic central bank in the world”.

Green Party – Miljöpartiet (mp)

www.mp.se

1 MEP (Greens/EFA)

Previously an EU sceptic party, the Greens recently abandoned their anti-EU stance, although they remain wary of a more centralized EU that looks too much like a “United States of Europe”. The party has three priority issues: fisheries policy, asylum policy, and of course, climate change.

Social Democratic Party – Socialdemokraterna (s)

www.socialdemokraterna.se

6 MEPs (PES)

Not surprisingly, the Social Democrats are prioritizing employment issues in the current economic crisis. They want to phase out EU agriculture subsidies and instead see the money spent on infrastructure and education in order to create more jobs. They also want to preserve the Swedish labour model of collective wage agreement, which remains under threat following a European Court of Justice ruling in the landmark Vaxholm case. In addition, the party is calling for more EU investment in green tech, especially wind power.

The party has even taken the trouble to publish its European Parliamentary election platform in English, which can be found in PDF form by clicking here.

Liberal Party – Folkpartiet (f)

www.folkpartiet.se

3 MEPs (ALDE)

The Liberals want to see a strong, federal EU which works together on transcendent policy areas, but leaves the “everyday issues” to member states. It wants Sweden to adopt the euro, supports Turkish EU membership, is against EU agriculture subsidies, and wants NATO to manage Europe’s defence, saving EU military operations for peacekeeping missions. The Liberals also want to see increased cooperation in asylum policy, crime fighting, and sustainable energy policies.

Centre Party – Centerpartiet (c)

www.centerpartiet.se

1 MEP (ALDE)

A very much pro-EU party, the Centre Party wants to see “a smaller and more focused EU”, with an emphasis on guaranteeing peace, fighting international crime, and promoting sustainable development. It calls for stronger privacy protections and the decriminalization of abortion in all EU member states. In addition, the party wants the EU to scrap member states’ veto right on foreign policy matters to increase the chances of the EU having a single voice in foreign affairs. The Centre Party also wants a fossil-fuel free Europe, with a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020.

Moderate Party – Moderaterna (m)

www.moderat.se

5 MEPs (EPP-ED)

Reflecting a strategy employed on the national stage, the Moderates are once again hoping to poach the worker vote from the Social Democrats in the election for the European Parliament by emphasizing that they too want to defend “the Swedish labour model”. On the economic front, the party also wants to increase the intra-EU market in services, ease restrictions on labour migration, and see Sweden adopt the euro. The Moderates also wants to see the EU ditch farm subsidies, do a better job promoting climate-friendly cars, and increase cross-border police cooperation.

Christian Democratic Party – Kristdemokraterna (kd)

www.kristdemokraterna.se

2 EMP’s (EPP-ED)

They view peace and freedom as driving forces behind cooperation within the EU. The party sees environmental issues as the EU’s biggest challenge, calling for a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020. They also take a stand against age discrimination on the job, and want to ban advertising directed at children. The party is also keen to see all EU members take equal responsibility for managing the EU’s flow of asylum seekers and to see an increased EU military contribution to peacekeeping missions.

Next: Other parties to watch (in no particular order)

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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