Sweden’s Feminist Initiative stands by ‘pink politics’ in new climate

Sweden's Feminist Initiative stands by 'pink politics' in new climate
Gudrun Schyman. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT
Sweden's feminist party says it will base its election campaign on similar 'pink policies' to those adopted in the past, despite a change in political climate.

Party leader Gudrun Schyman said that Sweden and Europe had seen fundamental political changes since the last general election in 2014.

“[There has been] a settling change towards a society that does not respect human rights,” Schyman said on stage as she presented the party's election platform at its national congress in Malmö.

The Feminist Initiative (FI) leader said she believed her party, which remains on the fringes of Swedish politics, was now the only one on the country's political landscape to see human rights as a priority.

FI's policies include increasing the number of UN quota refugees taken in by Sweden, removing obstacles to family reunification, giving amnesty to refugees who have waited for a long time to have their cases settled and reintroducing permanent residency as the normal form in humanitarian cases.

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Schyman, who shares leadership of the party with the newly-elected Gita Navabi, portrays FI as the only stable element in Swedish politics, saying that the party's election platform does not actually include any significant departures from previous policies.

She cites the prominence of nationalistic movements, money spent on defence and refugee policies as factors that have changed in Sweden in recent years.

Other key FI policies include reducing military spending, cutting tax deductions known as ROT and RUT deductions, and increasing taxation of meat consumption and air travel.The party is also interested in reducing working hours, with a long-term goal of a 30-hour week.

FI's chances of taking in seats in parliament after September's election currently look slim, with support at around two percent in recent polls, well short of the four percent threshold for parliamentary representation.

However, the party can point to a doubling in members and four times as many local organisations as evidence of growth since the previous election.

“I meet many people who are bitterly disappointed [with established parties on the left] and who are excited by the proposals we have,” Schyman said.