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Greens' history plays a role in its rocky week

Published torsdag 21 april 2016 kl 13.52
Maggie Strömberg: They were critical of professional politicians
(2:07 min)
Green Party co-leader Gustav Fridolin giving a speech in 2015. Photo: Marcus Ericsson / TT.
Green Party co-leader Gustav Fridolin giving a speech in 2015. Photo: Marcus Ericsson / TT.

Although the Green Party has been in Swedish Parliament since the late 1980s, the group may still be a little green behind the ears when it comes to national politics due to their original aim to be Sweden's alternative to established parties.

This week a string of resignations and blunders cast a shadow over the group, which entered government for the first time in 2014 in a coalition with the Social Democrats.

Maggie Strömberg, a reporter at the weekly news magazine Fokus who's studied the Greens, said the group began as an anti-establishment party.

"They started as an alternative party," she told Radio Sweden "They were critical to professional politicians, to corruption and power. They wanted to show that you could be a politician in another way."

The party has grown more professional over the years but their original mindset still has an impact, Strömberg said.

On Monday, party member and Housing Minister Mehmet Kaplan resigned, partly over comments he made in 2009 that compared Israel's treatment of Palestinians to that of the Jews' treatment in 1930s Germany.

Then on Wednesday, Green Party politician Yasri Khan quit the party after he refused to shake hands with a female television reporter saying it violated his Muslim faith.

Strömberg wrote a book about the party's rise to power and said that it favors a relatively flat organizational structure in which leadership has term limits and is kept in check from getting too powerful.

Though the week's event have some questioning that flat structure, Strömberg doesn't believe it will change anytime soon.

"This is still a strong position in the party and a lot of people think this is really important," she said.

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