Election Q&A: the Liberal Party

Liberal Party senior political advisor Therese Wallqvister and Riksdag secretariat foreign and defence policy political secretary Cindy Sturesson answer some questions from The Local about the party's stance on a few key issues.

The Local: Why should someone vote for your party?

Therese Wallqvister: The Liberal Party wants every individual to be able to make their own choices. We want to make life easier for those who work, study and start their own businesses, so that their efforts are worthwhile. There should be a safety net for those who really need it.

TL: What is this election about? What is the key question facing Swedish voters?

TW: More knowledge in school. The Liberal Party and its coalition partners in the government have done a great deal to improve the school results, but more reforms are necessary to ensure that every pupil gets the support he or she needs.

More freedom of choice for the elderly. People who live in retirement homes do not always get to go out every day or choose what they want to eat.

More people need to find work.

TL: What is your party going to do about this issue?

TW: With the new school legislation, teachers will have the authority to maintain order in the classroom. Grades will be given earlier, from the sixth grade.

Teacher training will be more specialised based on the subjects the future teacher will teach. Special teachers will be educated so that pupils in need get extra support. In upper secondary school, apprentice programs will be created.

The elderly will have the right to go outside everyday if they wish. Retirement homes must provide a choice of different meals. Husbands and wives of residents will have right to live with their spouses even if they are not in need of care themselves.

We want employers to have lower costs for employing young people and people who have been out of work for a long time. Apprentice programs should be created also for young people who are not pupils in upper secondary school.

Language training for immigrants must be improved and they should be able to work while still learning Swedish.

TL: What does your party see as the key to helping non-Swedes successfully establish themselves in Sweden?

Cindy Sturesson: Segregation and discrimination against immigrants is a tragedy for the individuals concerned, but is also a serious waste of resources for society at large. Many immigrants in Sweden are left outside the labour market and have become subject to passivity and dependence on welfare benefits.

Sweden needs a liberal integration policy that liberates every individual’s power of initiative. The key to better integration is more jobs and better school results. Schools must be reformed to focus on knowledge, and on the Swedish language in particular. A person applying for Swedish citizenship should have a certain knowledge of Swedish.

Since 2006, a job and development guarantee has been introduced, offering all immigrants the possibility and the obligation to work. We must put an end to isolation and welfare dependence.

We also need to strengthen the fight against discrimination and increase the presence of police in segregated areas.

TL: What do you say to foreign students who come here to study, but find it hard to find a job?

CS: Sweden needs more entrepreneurs, more work and more taxpayers in order to pay for education, health care and an aging population. One solution is reduced tax pressure and a significant cut in red tape for businesses. Taxes on business owners and risk capital as well as social charges for employers need to be reduced. Labour market laws must be modernised. Household services should be made tax-deductible in order to create more jobs in the service sector.

TL: What is your party’s top foreign policy issue?

CS: Our overarching aim is a foreign policy that promotes democracy. Sustainable peace can only be sustained between democracies and it’s only democratic market economies that can guarantee human rights. To contribute to the spread of democracy is the main goal of the Liberals’ foreign policy.

To return to the election guide main page, click here.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Bishop’s sermon at the opening of the Riksdag

Stockholm bishop Eva Brunne's sermon addressing racism at the opening of Sweden's parliament, the Riksdag, on Tuesday has been the topic of intense discussion. Here is the full text of her words in English.

Bishop's sermon at the opening of the Riksdag

Editor’s Note: The speech was delivered to the assembled members of parliament, the King, Queen and other dignitaries in Stockholm Cathedral on Tuesday, October 5th.

During the speech, the leader of the far-right Sweden Democrats and his 19 parliamentary colleagues stood up and left the church in protest at the subject matter addressed by the bishop.

Åkesson later apologised to the King, but claimed that Brunne’s reference to anti-racism demonstrations held across Sweden the night before left the Sweden Democrats with no choice but to leave.

Brunne later explained that the speech was not specifically directed against any particular party but reflected an interpretation of modern events and developments using the gospel.

Here is the speech, translated in full:

(Texts: The Wisdom of Solomon 7:15-22, I Thessalonians 5:16-24 , Luke 19:37-40)

Congratulations on your mandate. Congratulations to you who have been chosen with confidence. Almost 85 percent, or slightly more than six million people, consider you to be the best equipped to shape a positive present and sound future for us all. It is a great thing to be carried by such a confidence. And the task is given to you collectively. Not for each and every individual. Once chosen you are part of a context where your combined efforts are worth more than the will of each and every individual. After all, is that not how democracy works? It is about raising your gaze from your own interests and put to the public good. To take in Bastuträsk, Tomelilla, Göteborg, Grästorp, Husum and Visby. Politics, in one sense, is taken to mean living together in a city. Then it is also about raising one’s gaze still further, because we do not live only within ourselves. Our task and our responsibility is greater than the borders of the nation. There is a world which needs us – our solidarity, our money and not least our eyes and our voices.

There is much that is demanded of you, but do not lose heart. We are behind you, we who have given you your mandate, to speak on our behalf. Because is that not how democracy works?

We have to listen to the gospel. It was not the Swedish Riksdag that Paul was adressing, but a group of people in the city of Thessaloniki. To them he said: We exhort you to value those who have the heaviest burden among you, those at the fore. Show them respect and appreciation. And he continued with the advice: Don’t quench the Spirit, test all things, and hold firmly to that which is good. These are words also for all of us who have voted, and for all you who have been elected with trust.

Salomon in his wisdom neither wrote of the Swedish Riksdag, but the words could also be addressed to you: God is the guide of wisdom. God leads us on the correct path. For both we and our words are in his hands, as are all understanding and professional skill. Wisdom – she who with her craft has shaped everything. Words of mercy more than of demand. Everything does not rest on myself, nor my party.

When Jesus approached Jerusalem and the disciples allowed their happiness to be heard, a group of farisees asked if Jesus could silence his disciples. One wonders why they could not address the disciples directly. They were, after all, adult human beings. And the answer they received was thus: if these remain silent, the stones will cry out.

What was it that they had experienced on their way. Yes, among other things, a blind man was cured and could live his life fully and whole. And then the meeting with the despised tax collector Zachaeus. He who climbed the tree to be able to see, but perhaps also to hide. To the blind man, Jesus said: What do you want me to do for you? To Zachaeus he said: Come down from the tree, I want to visit your home. The meeting, face to face and eye to eye, in conversation, which made a lifelong impact on the the blind man and Zachaeus. This was what the disciples had experienced. The massive change for the two people. This was why they could not keep their joy to themselves. And if they had been silenced, then the stones would have cried out over the importance of this great change. The transformation which literally became of decisive importance.

It is these changes for people which are a large part of your mission. And in that you should never move far away from us who gave you your mandate that we are unable to you meet face to face, that you never cease from calling someone down from the tree and saying: I want to talk with you. To hear someone’s cry and say: What do you want me to do for you?

We who believe in people’s dignity and equal value, regardless of the country in which we are born, regardless of which gender or age we have, regardless of how our sexuality is expressed, we believe and hope that you continue to have the ability to say: I want to talk to you, and the enduring desire to ask the question: What can I do for you? And feel the great pleasure in the change that this can achieve.

Yesterday evening thousands of people gathered in Stockholm and in various parts of the country to make their voices heard. To call out their disgust at that which divides people. The racism which says that you don’t have as much worth as I do; that you shouldn’t have the same rights as me; aren’t worthy of living in freedom, and that is the only reason – that we happen to born in different parts of our world – that is not worthy of a democracy like ours to differentiate between people. It is not possible for people of faith to differentiate between people. Here it is not sufficient to give a couple of hundred people a mandate to speak on our behalf. Here we have a joint mission. And if anyone remains quiet or is silenced in the fight for human value, then we have to see to it that the stones also cry out. We do this with the help of God.

We have much to do. Cunning, courage and care are required. Feel joy in the mission. Feel the gravity of the mission. Feel the mandate from us. Test all things, and hold firmly to that which is good. Don’t differentiate between people. Feel the grace to rest in the God who created us.

With that in mind, we continue the present, towards the future.

Eva Brunne

Bishop in the diocese of Stockholm

Translation by The Local