In Västerås, the Swedish Green Party’s bi-annual conference has rejected the party board’s line on three issues.
The conference voted Saturday to press for a 35 hour work week. The board’s motion had called for the party to work for a reduction in working hours, but aimed at particular groups and with no specific number for all employees.
Conference delegates also voted against the board to restore payroll taxes for people under the age of 26 to their 2006 levels. Over the past seven years those taxes have gradually been cut in half by parliament, in an effort to boost employment among young people.
The conference also voted 152-63 over the wishes of the board to tighten the language in the party program regarding profits by private companies receiving public funding to run schools and healthcare facilities. The stronger language reads “any profits shall be reinvested in operations”.
The TT news agency says the Greens will be prioritizing the EU parliamentary elections in one year’s time, partly as a launching pad for the Swedish national elections in September 2014, but also to keep the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats from becoming Sweden’s third largest party in Brussels.
The polls currently indicate the Greens are Sweden’s third largest party, behind the Social Democrats and the conservative Moderates. Both the center-right government and the opposition Social Democrats are seen by analysts as trying to woo the Greens into a coalition after the 2014 vote.
The Greens were part of an electoral alliance with the Social Democrats and Left parties before the 2008 elections.
According to a survey by the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet Friday, in the past three years the Greens have voted more often in parliament with the Social Democrats than with the government, although they have entered into an agreement with the government on immigration, to forestall the influence of the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats.