The second main topic of this election campaign was integration. In the beginning of august, the president of the Liberal Party, Lars Leijonborg, launched a new program to improve integration of immigrants in Swedish society. The integration program proposed by the liberal party consists of 17 proposals. One of the proposals has been given most of the attention and that is the demand for knowledge of the Swedish language to obtain the Swedish citizenship. This has been furiously criticized from the current government and the Left Party. The critics have gone so far as calling the Liberal Party racist and xenophobic. This kind of criticism sounds ridiculous since the basic thought of the integration proposal is to allow more immigrants to enter in Sweden and to make it easier to obtain a working permit. Thanks to this proposal the question of integration has been raised in the Swedish debate for the first time in many years. There is no doubt that the socialdemocratic government has failed concerning the integration issue. Even though the balance of power did not change in these elections there were some very important topics brought up into the light; the problems in school and the failed integration.
The Swedish people has been surprisingly enganged in this debate. School and integration are questions that concern a majority of people and during the campaign the interest was especially large among young people. In the school elections that are held in almost every high school in Sweden the percentage of pupils participating was very high, upto 90%. Unfortunately, the percentage was lower when it comes to the whole polulation, only 79% of the Swedish people voted which is, comparatively, very low.
Today, three days after the elections the future goverment is still unsure. The liberal newspapers talk about a centrist government with the Liberal Party, the Center Party and the Socialdemocratic Party. Most likely the Socialdemocratic Party will continue with its minority government and seek support from different parties in different issues. This way of governing in minority has been highly criticised the last years since it makes it impossible for the voters to know who is responsible for which decisions since the government changes coalition partner in different issues.
No matter what the future government will be, the Swedish Liberal Party is three times as big as before. With 48 seats in parliament and many young MP:s, (the youngest is 20 years old) we all look forward to the next 4 years of influencing Swedish politics. The Swedish Liberal Party is now stronger than ever!
International Board LUF, Sweden