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Centre Party refocuses on 'green liberal future'

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Centre Party refocuses on 'green liberal future'
08:45 CET+01:00
The Centre Party's pingpong battle over a controversial ideas programme that saw its voter support shrink could be nearing its end as members rally for a "future conference" and leader Annie Lööf heralds a "green and liberal" stance.

Among the goals outlined in the op-ed pages of Dagens Nyheter newspaper on Friday, Lööf said her party wanted to transform Sweden into a fossile-fuel free society within a decade.

"Within electricity and heat generation, fossile fuels have already to a large extent been phased out," she said in her outline of future targets.

"We have soon reached our target that half of Sweden's energy needs be satisfied by renewable sources."

The challenge ahead, she wrote, was to cut emissions in the transport sector.

"For people who depend on their car or truck, we need a realistic way forward."

She said Sweden had almost reached the EU target of a 10-percent renewable powered fleet of vehicles, but that it was not ambitious enough for her party.

The Centre Party has floundered in recent opinions polls as an early draft of the ideas programme was thrashed for its wording on a border-less Sweden where polygamy should be legal.

The ensuing storm saw one dissident local group of members write an op-ed tinged with descriptions about migration that contained the words "illiterate clans" said to be set to invade Sweden.

Lööf cut short a holiday to sort out the mess.

The 31-year-old, who is also the enterprise minister, had already taken a confidence beating over her ministry staff's tardiness in handing over representation budget receipts when a Swedish newspaper asked to see them.

For the past few months, her party, once known primarily as the voice of rural communities in Sweden, has lingered below the 4-percent voter support barrier needed to get seats in parliament after a general election.

As part of the four-party government coalition, the Centre Party alongside the Liberals (Folkpartiet) and the Christian Democrats keep the government in power.

The push on Friday to lift the Centre Party back into the limelight as a party with a political future focused heavily on turning Sweden into a green, liberal and enterprise-friendly country.

Making public transport more affordable, offering bonuses to green hauling companies, lowering vehicle tax for companies who offer their employees environmentally-friendly cars, and looking into new biofuels were among Lööf's proposals.

Her party will meet in Stockholm satellite-town Upplands Väsby over the weekend to hammer out the final draft of the ideas programme.

The Local/at

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