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Moderate u-turn on political party donations

TT/David Landes · 28 Apr 2011, 10:08

Published: 28 Apr 2011 10:08 GMT+02:00

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In an opinion piece published on Thursday in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper, Moderate party secretary Sofia Arkelsten, announced that the party would publish the names of individual donors who gave 20,000 kronor ($3,300) or more to the party per year.

While calling the current debate about transparency in party financing "justified", Arkelsten said the Moderates were nevertheless not prepared to support formal regulation of party financing, despite the fact that a majority of political parties in the Riksdag support such a move.

Instead, writes Arkelsten, the Moderates would prefer Sweden's political parties come to an agreement on voluntary regulations and plan to invite other parties into a dialogue about the matter.

"We need to discuss our system for party financing in a constructive and open manner. The goal should be to find a solution together that has broad support," she writes.

Arkelsten laid out three principles that the Moderates want to use as a basis for further discussion about party financing: openness, voluntariness, and voter secrecy.

She explained that the debate about party financing in Sweden must be seen in light of the fact that the bulk of parties' financing comes from public money.

According to Arkelsten, her party doesn't accept money from companies or organisations, and in 2009 received an average donation of 770 kronor from 2,500 individuals.

She added that, while donations from individuals to the Moderate Party has been one major point of contention in discussions about party financing, the unpaid and unaccounted support provided to the Social Democrats from the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (Landsorganisationen – LO) also needs to be addressed.

Now that the Moderates have agreed to be more open about their donors, Arkelsten urged the Social Democrats to make a similar move.

"When we Moderates now want to do our part in this way, I expect that the same thing will also happen within the Social Democrats," she writes.

"Not least by making it possible for LO members to refuse to support the Social Democrats, but also by accounting for the unpaid work that LO contributes to the party. Now it's time to deliver."

The Moderates opening on party financing comes following renewed criticism of Sweden by the Council of Europe for its lack of transparency into how the country's political parties are financed.

Two years ago, the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), first urged Sweden to implement seven measures to improve transparency into party financing.

In a new report published on April 1st of this year, GRECO sharpened its language, citing the "complete lack of any concrete move" on the matter as "striking".

The anti-corruption body concludes that the "blatant non-compliance with the recommendations" renders Sweden's response to GRECO's recommendations "globally unsatisfactory".

The Christian Democrats voiced support for the 20,000 kronor limit for making individual donors public, finding that it strikes an appropriate balance between openness and respect for voter secrecy.

"A proposal in this direction is well worth considering," Christian Democrat party secretary Acko Ankarberg Johansson in a statement.

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"In deliberations between the parties, a proposal must also be included stipulating that LO support for the Social Democrats also be made public."

The Moderate Party and Christian Democrats have long opposed the regulation of private donations to political parties, arguing that exposing donors would undermine their right to confidentiality.

In addition, the far-right Sweden Democrats have argued against regulating party financing, citing security concerns.

In December, MPs from the four parties of the centre-right Alliance government voted down a proposal that would have required parties to make public the names of people or organisations that made political donations of larger than 20,000 kronor.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:06 April 28, 2011 by RobinHood
Fredrik Reinfeldt was not born in Sweden and is not elligible to be prime minister. He was in fact born in Azerbaijan to a Sammi mother and a Mongolian father who both worked in a travelling circus, she as a fire eater, and he as an elephant trainer. He is also a secret Moslem and a scientologist. He only arrived in Sweden on 25 October 2003; the day he was elected Moderate Party leader. Before that, he was raised by Siberian hamsters and educated at a madrass in Ulan Bator. I demand to see his long form birth certificate, which is clearly a fake anyway.

Why isn't this front page news, The Local? Everybody knows it's true. You are just part of the global conspiracy. The Jews are in on it too by the way. And the hamsters.
11:08 April 28, 2011 by HYBRED
Does Reinfeldt ever miss a chance to get his photo taken? I swear he is the only one that would chase the Paparazzi, instead of them chasing him.

And then his name isn't even mentioned in this article.
11:53 April 28, 2011 by Nemesis
The exact origins of every krona donated to political parties should be publicly available for all to see.

Failure to disclose all funding should be a criminal offence.
12:07 April 28, 2011 by Great Scott
This will surly expose the core of the rotten apple.
12:50 April 28, 2011 by engagebrain
even if the source of funds are declared there are other considerations

1) are the donor able to vote in Swedish elections

2) providing support - offices, transport, staff etc, that are not actually money,but can be a way round declarations of financial support.

3) loans, along with any interest. used to get round declaring a financial donation.

donors and politicians are slippery and every loop hole needs to be closed.
13:00 April 28, 2011 by HYBRED
Unfortunately the politicians pretty much make up the rules governing disclosure and such. Then use the word "transparency" to make themselves look like they are honest and bias. But like the Missourian's say, "show me".
14:16 April 28, 2011 by Syftfel
This is news that's not newsworthy. Not sure why TL wastes space on it. Where Reinfeldt SHOULD make a U-turn is with his folding like a cheap camera before socialists' migration policies, and excessive social programs.
14:28 April 28, 2011 by J Jack
Anyway does anyone agree, that chick has got really big ... ears!?
14:52 April 28, 2011 by HYBRED
Ears? I thought they were satellite dishes.
15:05 April 28, 2011 by Swedesmith
That's why Reinfeld's head is bald...from making U-turns beneath the sheets.
16:16 April 28, 2011 by Rick Methven
That's why bald men are sexy.

My wife thinks so
16:40 April 28, 2011 by Swedesmith
God bless her.
17:59 April 28, 2011 by Great Scott
@J Jack

Thats not a chick, its a dog, yes sometimes dogs do have big ears.
18:41 April 28, 2011 by Swedesmith
Big ears make good love handles.
18:47 April 28, 2011 by HYBRED
Use them as handlebars.
23:36 April 28, 2011 by jamesblish
"Voluntary regulations"? And just how are we going to be sure they're accurate if they're handled by the parties themselves and not a third party? It's not a coincidence that the two parties that oppose this are the two that have got the most to lose on donations becoming public. KD is a christian party and most likely accepts a lot of money from various churches and semi-cults. The Moderates have been the "rich man's party" for 70+ years so it's not hard to figure out what type of people might support them financially. It will be the Koch brothers of Sweden.
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