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Introducing the Greens

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17:02 CEST+02:00
The Greens are bidding to become the second largest party within the centre-left Red-Green coalition that is fighting to wrestle back power after four years in opposition.

Maria Wetterstrand and Peter Eriksson are the party spokespersons. Other noteable figures within the party include economic policy spokesperson Mikeala Valtersson, former MP turned journalist Gustaf Fridolin, and Ship-to-Gaza activist Mehmet Kaplan.

History and ideology

The Swedish Green Party (Miljöpartiet de Gröna) was founded in 1981 and is thus the youngest parliamentary party. The party emerged out of the movement opposing nuclear power and first gained parliamentary seats in 1988.

Long a 5 percent party, the Green Party has enjoyed the support of around 10 percent of the electorate in a slew of recent opinion polls, and the party has set itself a target of 12 percent at the September 19th election.

The party's appeal has extended from its original environmentalist hardcore to attract most of its support among the young, female, urban middle-classes.

In the mid-1990s the party took a stand against Sweden's membership of the European Union, although the policy demanding a new referendum was finally discarded in September 2008.

While acting as a support party for the Social Democrats from 1998-2006, the Greens pushed their green tax agenda advocating a general shift in taxation policy towards higher taxes on unsustainable and environmentally unfriendly practices and products.

The party was the first to raise the issue of climate change in Sweden and is credited with pushing the issue into the political mainstream.

2010 election platform

The party has long campaigned as a party that looks forward and not to the left, or the right on the political scale. The 2010 election campaign is no exception with the party pledging to ”Modernise Sweden”.

Key points

*Climate – double public transport and railway capacity over the next ten years, including high-speed rail linking major cities

*Replace nuclear power and fossil fuels with renewables; incentives to make homes more energy efficient

*Cut sales tax on services, including restaurants

*Create a state venture capital fund for small and medium-sized firms; cut payroll taxes on small firms

*Introduce quotas for gender equity on the boards of listed and state companies

*Division of parental leave into three equal parts – one reserved for each parent, and one to decide between themselves

Comment

One of the Green Party's principles is to work against political careerism. In practice this means that elected representatives are limited to three terms in office and so the popular Maria Wetterstand, and co-spokesperson Peter Eriksson are required to stand down in 2011, regardless of the election result.

To return to the election guide main page, click here.

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