Middle-aged men dominate election lists

The majority of candidates running for the parliamentary election in the fall are middle-aged men, according to a survey from Sveriges Radio's (SR) news service Ekot.

At the same time, the Moderates have the fewest number of female candidates among all the parties, but the numbers are an improvement from the previous election.

Male candidates comprise 59 percent of Moderate candidates, a decline from 63 percent in 2006. The Left Party is the only party fielding more females, at 51 percent, than males, while the numbers are reversed for the Social Democrats.

On the Liberal People’s Party’s parliamentary list, only 10 percent of the candidates are under 30. The Liberal and Christian Democratic Parties have lowest percentage of young people on their lists and at the same time, the highest proportion of elderly candidates.

By contrast, 14 percent of Christian Democrat and Liberal candidates for the Swedish parliament’s, the Riksdag’s, elections are 65 or older. The other parties have far fewer retirees among their candidates, with the average among parliamentary parties at 10 percent.

“The advantages are the knowledge one acquires in life and the life experience one has and also the wide range of contacts that I have,” Folkpartiet MP Barbro Westerholm, one of the oldest candidates who turns 77 this year, told Ekot.

SR has asked Statistics Sweden (Statistiska centralbyrån, SCB) to produce information on all the candidates for parliament and municipal councils. The figures show that the age distribution is uneven in most parties, with few young and old candidates.

However, that the Liberals have many who are over 65 among its politicians is not a problem, said Westerholm, adding that it is an advantage instead.

“It is a huge strength because these are people with knowledge and life experience,” she told SR. “I think that it gives a stability to a parliamentary group and also memories of the past. It can explain why things look like they do now.”

The Green and Left Parties have the highest proportion of young candidates, of which 15 percent are under 30 in both parties. One of the youngest is 23-year-old Lena Tjäder of the Left in Luleå and she thinks she has a lot to contribute.

“It’s partly my age,” Tjäder told SR. “I think I can get more young people to vote for the Left. Otherwise, I’m pretty good at most things. I’m good in debates and have a solid position.”

Westerholm believes her party can do better with young candidates.

“We need fresh young eyes, so I would like to see the Liberals with better numbers in this age group,” she said.

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