Swedish opposition leader pledges to hit gang criminals with terror laws

Swedish opposition leader pledges to hit gang criminals with terror laws
Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson makes his summer leader's speech in Strängnäs. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
The leader of Sweden's centre-right opposition has called for the country to use its far-reaching terror legislation against gang criminals after what he described as "the bloodiest summer in Swedish history" when it came to gun violence.

In his traditional party leader’s “summer speech” or sommartal, titled Now, we’ll get some order for Sweden, Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson said that the government should use every possibility under law to crack down on gang criminals.

They should be treated as domestic terrorists and “should be met with the full force of Swedish terror legislation,” he said. “We should take their money, their cars and their watches. We should listen in to them and visit their homes. 

“Those who are members of a criminal gang but not Swedish citizens should be deported. We should bring in visitation zones and double punishment for gang criminals.”

After the speech, the party’s justice spokesperson Johan Forssell presented new proposals for extending terror legislation so that the “law on secret coercise measures” or Lagen om hemliga tvångsåtgärder, which empowers police to listen in to phone calls and other communications, be extended to cover gang criminals.

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The Moderate party also wants Sweden’s deportation law to be extended to cover gang criminals, with courts empowered to rule on whether someone meets the description.

“This is a far-reaching proposal, that’s the whole point,” Johan Forssell, the party’s justice spokesperson, told TT after the speech. “The burden of evidence should rest heavily on those who think we should keep doing what we’ve done up until now.”

In his speech, Kristersson also lambasted the government for Sweden’s record levels of long-term unemployment and for missing its own climate goals.

He called for a cap on welfare payments and lowered tax rates on the low paid, so that it would always be worth finding work for unemployed people.

He also defended his party’s decision to work with the far-right Sweden Democrats, until a few years ago a pariah in Swedish politics due to their neo-Nazi roots.

“I want to get together and cooperate to get things done. The Moderates have in recent years cooperated with all the parties, from the Left Party to the Sweden Democrats, sometimes both at the same time,” he said.

“That doesn’t make me either a Left Party supporter or a Sweden Democrat. It just means that I put policy issues first.”

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