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2022 SWEDISH ELECTION

PART ONE: What election pledges have Sweden’s political parties made this year?

With the 2022 Swedish parliamentary election just over a month away, The Local looks at each party's policies and pledges in the run-up to the big day on September 11th. Here's part one, covering Sweden's four largest parties.

PART ONE: What election pledges have Sweden's political parties made this year?
A person voting in a Swedish voting booth in the 2019 EU elections. Photo: Erik Mårtensson/TT

We’ll start with Sweden’s four largest parties: the left-wing Social Democrats and the conservative Moderates, the far-right Sweden Democrats and the Centre Party, who, as you probably guessed, are in the centre of the political spectrum.

The leader of one of Sweden’s two largest parties – Magdalena Andersson for the Social Democrats and Ulf Kristersson for the Moderates – is likely to become prime minister after September’s election, depending on how well each party does, as well as how many votes the other parties in their blocs receive.

Social Democrat election posters on pensions, limiting profits for free schools, and law and order issues. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Social Democrats

The Social Democrats focus on six different policy areas on their website, which, interestingly, don’t correspond entirely with their election campaign posters unveiled in early August.

The campaign posters cover pensions, schools (specifically, limiting profit-making free schools), crime and law and order.

On their website, however, the ruling Social Democrats highlight different issues: welfare, healthcare, elderly care, labour, the climate and law and order.

Some key issues highlighted in their campaign are more police officers, stricter punishments for criminals, better pensions and limiting profits for free schools. They also state that “everyone who can work, should work”, adding that those who work should be able to live off their salary and have good working conditions.

Some of their labour policies include creating more jobs across Sweden, including in the healthcare sector in order to shorten queues for accessing healthcare, providing better opportunities for the unemployed to retrain and introducing the family week policy they were previously unable to pass through parliament.

Moderate party leader Ulf Kristersson speaks at his party’s election kickoff in Norrköping on August 4th. Photo: Magnus Andersson/TT

Moderates

The Moderates’ main policy focus areas in their campaign, according to their website are crime, the economy and jobs, as well as energy and the climate.

The conservative opposition party’s policies criticise the reigning Social Democrats, pointing out issues it has identified as being important for voters. It does not, however, propose a set of policies to tackle these issues.

The Moderates mention the high level of shootings in Sweden (“one shooting a day, one fatal shooting a week”), mugging, fraud against the elderly and women’s “insecurity outdoors” as important election issues this year.

They also focus on the economy and “planboksfrågor”, or literally “wallet issues”, like cost of living and personal economy issues, stating that “after eight years with the Social Democrats in government, we have the EU’s lowest growth … and eighth-highest unemployment”, as well as stating that “700,000 people who have migrated to Sweden can’t support themselves financially, costing 132 billion kronor per year”.

On energy and climate, they state that energy prices have broken new records this summer, with the situation “expected to get even harder in autumn and winter”, as well as stating that “Sweden has burnt oil in the middle of summer”.

Their main argument as to why voters should vote for them is not a policy as such, rather the fact that they have “gathered four parties which agree on the political issues which are most important for voters”.

They list eleven points these four parties – the Moderates, the Christian Democrats, the Sweden Democrats and the Liberals – agree on.

Some of these points tackle specific law and order issues, such as introducing double sentences for gang criminals and imprisoning young people who carry out “humiliation robberies” – robberies where the perpetrator humiliates their victim.

Other points tackle money issues, like “work should pay” and less red tape for owners of small businesses, as well as energy and climate issues, such as lower fuel prices and more nuclear power to provide “cheaper and greener electricity”.

Finally, some points tackle integration and migration: “tightened immigration for integration to succeed”, and “no to forced bussing of students”, a policy which does not currently exist and has not been proposed, where students would be bussed from areas with a high immigrant population to areas with a lower level of immigrants, in order to aid integration.

Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson kicks off his party’s election tour in Söderköping. Photo: Magnus Andersson/TT

Sweden Democrats

The Sweden Democrats’ key focus areas for the upcoming election are migration, security, cheaper fuel and welfare.

Their election campaign is also markedly negative, describing the country as “a divided Sweden where gangs have been allowed to grow, exclusion has taken root and the cost of living for people has drastically increased”.

They argue that “those who created this society”, which they state is a product of “decades of social liberal politics”, are incompetent when it comes to solving the problems it faces.

They also state that they are “not like other parties” blaming the other parties for “making Sweden how it is today”.

Their main argument for voting for them in September is to “create a cohesive Sweden where people can feel secure, a sense of community and have a good standard of living”, as well as stating that the Sweden Democrats are “the party which warned of these developments in society and saw it coming”.

On migration, they state that “mass migration to Sweden from illegal immigrants, economic migrants and asylum seekers has changed Sweden for the worse and has caused many societal problems that we now need to fix”.

To do this, the Sweden Democrats want to stop all refugees from countries which “are not close to us” and tighten migration policy to the “strictest possible level according to EU law”. They also want the number of migrants who do not have the right to be in Sweden leaving to be higher than the number of migrants arriving in Sweden.

On welfare, they accuse the Social Democrats of “letting Sweden’s welfare fall into ruin”, stating that they will solve the issue by “financing large-scale investments through lowering aid and a sustainable migration policy”. They further state that Sweden’s welfare “should not be available for the whole world’s population” and that it should only be fully available to Swedish citizens and those who contribute to the welfare state.

On security, they state that there needs to be more police with better working conditions. They also want to increase sentences for criminals.

On fuel, the Sweden Democrats are critical of higher fuel taxes, suggesting that they would lower tax on fuel if elected.

Annie Lööf holds a speech at the Centre Party election kick-off on August 5th. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Centre Party

The Centre Party’s election manifesto focuses on a number of priorities: “how the whole country should live, how we can save the environment and the climate, create an equal Sweden, increase the potential of small businesses and strengthen the economy, improve healthcare, protect liberal democracy and strengthen the social contract”.

It also makes a point of the fact that it is Sweden’s only conservative or borgerlig party which refuses to work with the Sweden Democrats, describing them as a “xenophobic party with authoritarian leaders as its role models”.

In terms of climate, the Centre Party states that Sweden must “take advantage of the possibilities of technology and the innovative power of companies to overcome the climate threat”. The Centre Party also wants “increased freedom, security and accessibility” across Sweden, and it wants to “increase women’s security and independence” through preventative measures against male violence against women.

On the economy and small businesses, it wants lower tax and less red tape, and more stability in state finances.

On healthcare, it – like most of the other parties – also wants to shorten healthcare waiting times. The Centre Party will do that by providing better working conditions for healthcare workers and providing better access to those in need across the country.

On law and order, it calls for a better prepared totalförsvar or “total defence”, Sweden’s defence tactic in which the entire country must be prepared to defend in the case of an attack, as well as preventative measures to tackle crime.

Finally, the Centre Party calls for, unsurprisingly, central politics. Green, liberal politics and a fight against division and polarisation. “Sweden does not need xenophobic right-wing nationalism or socialist left-wing politics,” it says.

Here is part two of our appraisal of party election pledges, looking at the pledges of the Christian Democrats, Left Party, Liberal Party, and Green Party. 

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2022 SWEDISH ELECTION

PART TWO: What election pledges have Sweden’s political parties made this year?

In the second part of The Local's election pledge series, we look in to the election pledges of Sweden's four smallest parties: the Left Party, the Christian Democrats, the Liberals and the Greens.

PART TWO: What election pledges have Sweden's political parties made this year?

This is the second part of a two-part series on Sweden’s political parties’ election pledges for 2022. You can read the first part here, covering the Social Democrats, the Moderates, the Sweden Democrats and the Centre Party.

Left Party

The Left Party’s election pledge is to “create a more secure Sweden”. It will do this by “taking back control over welfare and making life better for normal people”, after “many years of market solutions and privatisation”.

Another important issue for the Left Party, it says, is the “climate transition and what needs to be done to solve the climate crisis”.

In its 17-page election platform document, the Left Party lists a range of topics including the climate, job security, education, equal healthcare, protection of an independent cultural sector and co-owned welfare across the country.

Left Party Nooshi Dadgostar kicks off her election tour in Piteå, northern Sweden. Photo: Pär Bäckström/TT

On the climate, the Left Party says that “investments in green technology, industry and infrastructure, expanded energy capacity and strengthened governance based on new, tightened climate goals is needed”.

“Industries need to adapt from fossil fuels to renewables with the help of large state investments,” the Left Party says, proposing “a green transition-fund, where the state uses its financial muscles, and where money is transferred from dirty companies to climate and environmentally friendly production.”

The Left Party is also critical of Sweden’s right-wing parties in its election pledge, stating that right-wing politics “is about attacking immigrants, the sick, unemployed and people with disabilities, and limiting our access to welfare.”

Left Party proposals to make Sweden more secure include building more housing and lowering rent, introducing a progressive property tax which would tax “luxury properties more, while the majority of homeowners would not have higher taxes”, rebuilding the pension system so that “you can live off your pension, not just survive,” and improving unemployment insurance (a-kassa), so that “the unemployed know they have good a-kassa, and don’t need to worry about moving to a cheaper apartment, selling their house or not having food on the table.”

The Left Party also wants to improve job security and reduce gig work, temporary employment and part time jobs, adding that “workers with foreign backgrounds are overrepresented in insecure, low paid and stressful jobs”.

“None of us should have to deal with racism at work or be dependent on their employer in order to be able to stay in Sweden,” the Left Party says.

Christian Democrat leader Ebba Busch holds her summer election speech at Hönö on Sweden’s west coast.
Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

Christian Democrats

In Christian Democrat leader Ebba Busch’s summer speech in the run-up to September’s election, she highlighted issues such as healthcare, living costs and electricity production.

Busch also highlighted policing and law and order issues, such as giving the police more resources to fight gang crime, introducing sentences for antisocial crimes against the police and installing more security cameras.

On healthcare, the Christian Democrats proposed a national plan for maternity care, in an election pledge that the party sees as the first stage in its plan to replace Sweden’s regional health authorities with a national health service. 

“Swedish healthcare is suffering from a system failure, which is spelled ‘regions’,” Busch said in her summer speech. 

The plan would see the reopening of closed maternity clinics and wards, and a guarantee that threatened clinics and wards be kept open. 

On living costs, Busch highlighted fuel prices, promising to lower petrol prices by five kronor and diesel by nine kronor, by reducing the reduktionsplikt, a law which forces companies selling fossil fuels to lower their emissions by mixing their fuels with more expensive, more environmentally friendly biofuels.

On electricity production, Busch called for a reopening of the Ringhals nuclear reactors as well as expanding Sweden’s water and wind power production, “but only where suitable”.

Liberal party leader Johan Pehrson holds his summer election speech in Gothenburg. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

Liberals

The Liberals’ most important election policies, according to their website, are schools and education, integration and the climate. 

On schools, the Liberals have proposed a national campaign to bring order to Swedish schools, which the party is calling an ordningslyft, literally “order lift”. 

The campaign will include an “order contract”, signed by all pupils and parents, and five other proposals, of which two are new. 

The two new proposals are that the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) state clearly that pupils have a responsibility for order in schools, and must come in time for lessons, look after their school books, use decent language, and arrive rested for lessons. Parents also share responsibility, and must, for instance, come to parent-teacher meetings. 

On integration, the Liberals’ main policy is a so-called förortslyft or “suburb lift”, aimed at reducing the number of areas classed as “vulnerable” where police struggle to combat crime, so that no areas of Sweden fall into this category by 2030.

The Liberals say that many “new Swedes end up in crowded suburbs marked by crime and low school results,” and that “many have their freedom and opportunities limited as they lack jobs and lack language ability.”

Their goal for combatting the exclusion they see in Sweden is to make it “easier to get a job quickly and support yourself financially – even for those who don’t speak good Swedish or lack an education”.

To do this, they propose introducing “entry-jobs for the young and new arrivals with a slightly lower salary for the first job and simpler rules”.

They also aim to prevent and work to dismantle “parallel societies”, by combatting honour-related violence “through more knowledge, but also stricter penalties”, and introducing “a stop for new religious free schools as they prevent integration”.

On the climate, the Liberals want to see more investments in solar, wind and nuclear power, as well as “more electricity and cheap electricity” in order to succeed with the “climate transition”, as well as encouraging people to buy electric cars, introducing electric public transport and electric goods transport.

In addition to this, in order to lower energy prices, the Liberals propose lowering taxes on electricity – specifically, lowering VAT and excise tax on electricity.

Green Party co-leadsers Märta Stenevi and Per Bolund at Almedalen.
Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Green Party

The Green Party’s three main focus areas are the climate, equality and democracy and human rights.

On the climate, its main goals are to stop climate change, protect biodiversity, transition to a society which “stays within the boundaries of nature” and “build a future to look forwards to”.

To do this, it will “tighten Sweden’s climate goals based on the best research available”, “support the climate transition in all parts of society, in all branches and across the country”, “introduce ambitious climate law at EU level and legislate for a European, binding emissions budget”, “invest in on-time trains across Sweden, more night trains to Europe, a European trains union for simpler train journeys in Europe and new high speed trains”, and “replace fossil fuels and diesel with 100% renewable fuel and electricity in Sweden and in the EU”.

On equality, the Green Party’s goals are to end male violence against women, stop honour-related violence, for women to have more power and better salaries and pensions, promote equal responsibility for home and children and continue to “promote feminist foreign policy for the climate, aid and peace”.

Some of it’s policy proposals on these points include encouraging state-owned employers to introduce equal salaries and a right to full-time work, an increase on guarantee pensions for those with little or no income in Sweden, introducing earmarked parental leave days for each parent and introducing female quotas in listed companies and state-owned companies.

On democracy and human rights, the Greens want to make it more difficult to change Sweden’s constitution, improve the rights of minorities, protect free media and protect public service in Sweden’s constitution, introduce a national citizenship initiative system (including, for example, legislation proposed by citizens), increase transparency in the public sector and lower the voting age to 16.

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