• Sweden's news in English

'Golden handshake' vote divides Swedish MPs

The Local · 2 Oct 2013, 17:37

Published: 02 Oct 2013 12:04 GMT+02:00
Updated: 02 Oct 2013 17:37 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The vote, which took place Wednesday afternoon, reforms a system that limits payouts to parliamentarians who lose or quit their jobs and which everyone agrees is too generous.

Under the current system, an MP who has been in parliament for 12 years and has turned 50 can receive up to 40,000 kronor ($6,300) per month until he or she turns 65.

But MPs who enter parliament after next year's general election will have to make due with less: income support for no more than two years, and only if they server for at least eight years in the Riksdag. Former MPs who are still out of work after two years will be able to apply to have the payments extended each year, but at a lower level. And they will also have to prove they are actively seeking a new job.

At issue on Wednesday's vote, however, was whether the changes should also apply to incumbent MPs who are re-elected in 2014.

Ahead of the vote, the two bigger of the government's four coalition parties - the Moderates and the Liberals (Folkpartiet) - crossed enemy lines and to vote with the leftist Social Democrats in favour of allowing current MPs to receive payments calculated according to the current system.

However, the measure prompted opposition from an array of smaller political parties from across the political spectrum who said the unholy trinity is putting Swedes' faith in politicians at risk.

"This question concerns people's faith in parliament. We set our own salaries which are paid for by other people's money, so we have to be careful," Centre Party MP Anders W. Jonsson told the TT news agency as parliamentarians assembled on Wednesday to put the proposal to the vote.

His party was joined by the Green and Left Parties, as well as the far-right Sweden Democrats. The Christian Democrats are similarly critical, but want to propose a system where MPs pay a certain sum of money to contribute to the severance package pay outs - derogatorily referred to as parliamentary "parachutes" in Sweden.

"Today's system of an income guarantee costs 60 million kronor ($9.4 million) a year - that is far too much," said Christian Democrat MP Tuve Skånberg, whose party also wants a new deal to cover incumbent as well as incoming parliamentarians.

The Moderates, Liberals, and Social Democrats disagreed.

Moderate MP Lars Elindersson said it was not reasonable to expect sitting parliamentarians to accept a worse deal than the one they were given when they accepted elected office.

The new proposal states that an MP should have access to a two-year "parachute" but in order to quality for the "golden handshake" the parliamentarians must have remained in service for at least eight years.

The guarantee gives outgoing MPs an income of about 85 percent of their salary - or 50,000 kronor a month.

The size of the income guarantee then decreases on a sliding scale in correlation to how long an MP held elected office. Its size increases depending on how old the MP is.

Story continues below…

According to the system, former MPs lose their right to the severance pay when they find a new job.

DON'T MISS: Sweden's sexiest male politicians

DON'T MISS: Sweden's sexiest female politicians

TT/The Local/at

Follow The Local on Twitter

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Presented by Invest Stockholm
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm

You might think it’s hard to make friends in a new city. But if at first you don’t succeed – try something else!

Injured Swedish photographer protected by 'guardian angel'
Swedish photographer Paul Hansen on another occasion. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Photographer Paul Hansen thanked his lucky stars for surviving sniper fire while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

How Sweden is trying to smooth relations with Saudis
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven meeting Saudi Arabia's Trade Minister Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has visited Saudi Arabia a year and a half after relations turned frosty in a major diplomatic row.

My Swedish Career
'Swedish people love it, but they find it quite odd'
Scottish entrepreneur William Macdonald. Photo: Michael Campanella

Meet the web developer and entrepreneur using traditional Scottish ceilidh dancing to break the ice with Swedes.

Swedish photographer shot near Mosul
Hansen was being operated on in the Iraqi city of Erbil on Sunday. Photo: Nora Lorek/ TT

Paul Hansen, a photographer working for Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, has sustained light injuries after being hit by what appears to be a sniper while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

Trollhättan remembers school attack victims
'It was an attack on all of Sweden,' Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said. Photo: Thomas Johansson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday turned out for a torchlight procession in the small town of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden to honour the victims of last year’s deadly school attack there.

Sweden wants emission- free cars in EU by 2030
Photo: Jessica Gow/ TT

Sweden's environment minister on Saturday urged the European Union to ban petrol and diesel-powered vehicles from 2030.

Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Swedish terror suspect ‘planned airport attack’
Swedish terror suspect Osama Krayem. Photo: Facebook

Swedish national Osama Krayem, linked to the deadly attacks in Paris on November 13 and in Brussels on March 22, is now suspected of having plotted to attack also the Schiphol airport in the Netherlands.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available