Centre Party votes "No" on parental leave quota

The Centre Party voted down the leadership’s proposal to make the equal sharing of parental leave benefits mandatory, Swedish News Agency TT writes. This was Annie Lööf’s first win after she was elected to lead the Centre Party yesterday.

Delegates at the party’s annual assembly in the ski resort town of Åre this week voted 249 to 185 against the plan, after a short debate this morning. Four delegates abstained from voting.

Instead, the party leadership will now develop a proposal based on economic incentives intended to encourage parents to share parental leave more equally. The upcoming proposal will not include an enforced quota of the parental insurance, TT writes.  

Centre parliamentarian Annika Qarlsson, who fought for more “daddy months”, interpreted the defeat to mean that the Centre Party will even strive to repeal the two current months fathers are required to take.

“I can’t read this any other way than that the second and first months will also be taken away in the long run. We are going to work on a completely new proposal. Not that we are going to remove the second and first months without offering something else, but we have to develop a completely new proposal, based on a different mechanism than the daddy months,” Qarlsson said.

Qarlsson conceded that her proposal was thrashed, but said she was happy the party is united in the goal that parental leave benefits should be shared more equally, even if that means using a different approach than the daddy months.

The vote represented a first win for party leader Annie Lööf, who has been vocal opponent to the proposal, which otherwise had the majority of the party leadership.

Lööf is scheduled to give a speech to the party today. She told TT that her focus will be more on pepping the party, which has long suffered from weak public opinion, rather than on presenting concrete proposals.

The Centre Party is the third largest party in the governing centre-right coalition.