Thursday, December 04, 2014

Sweden Prepares For Frosty Election Campaign

Via The Local:

Swedens's top politicians were spending Thursday looking ahead to fresh elections in March 2015, after the country's Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Löfven called a snap vote following a budget defeat.

The key questions being asked by political commentators on Thursday included when campaigning was set to start, how much it was going to cost, and whether parties intended to change any of their policies ahead of the election.

The Social Democrat party, which leads the current coalition government, said it did not want to spend the next three months campaigning.

"You can't start now. We don't want to. No one wants to. The voters certainly don't want us to. You can't drive an election campaign for four months. It's too long", commented the group's party secretary Carin Jämtin.

She said that her party would encourage others to begin competing in earnest in February.

"It's winter. It is more difficult to campaign when there is snow", she told news agency TT.

But she added that there had already been an "unbelievable drive in the party's organisation".

"I know several places around the country where there are people carrying out party activities at the weekend. In some places, people were out and knocking on doors last night", she said.

Ten million ballot papers are on standby for the vote in March, with all parties expected to prepare new posters and adverts for the contest.

The Left Party, which has close links to the Social Democrats and the Green Party but is not part of the current coalition, released a statement saying "an extreme right wing Party must not dictate the agenda of Swedish politics, it must be isolated".

Speaking to The Local, its spokesperson on migration Hanna Löfqvist said it was important for Sweden to continue to welcome immigrants.

"The right to seek asylum is a basic human right. There are more than 50 million refugees in the world as we speak and Sweden has signed international conventions – which we have an obligation to fulfil as a civilized country. We - as a progressive political party - have to stand up for the Human Rights. It’s more important than ever. Nobody should be sent back to war and persecution", she said.

Sweden, with a population just shy of 10 million, is expecting nearly 100.000 asylum seekers this year, many of them Syrians who automatically receive residency on arrival.

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