Party politics

Lööf: C to become greener and warmer

In her first speech as party leader, Annie Lööf said Centre will work to become Sweden’s most environmentally-minded party and care more for those who are worst off in society, Swedish News Agency TT reports.

“Our profile looking forward is going to be greener, warmer and more enterprising,” she said.

In her speech at the party’s annual meeting, held this week in the northern ski resort town of Åre, Lööf put her energy into boosting confidence and raising hopes in the more than 500 delegates there. Lööf said the party would become the “future motor” of Swedish policy, and that it would create a “policy of possibility and opportunity” for Sweden.

Delegates clapped when she assured them the Centre Party would not only be a coalition partner with a green voice but would become Sweden’s green voice, thereby challenging the Swedish Green Party, TT writes.

She got a long round of applause when she predicted a slow death for nuclear energy.

She signalled the Centre Party would focus more on those who aren’t well-off. The fact that so many people are falling through the public safety nets is a political failure, she said.  

“I’m talking about homeless people without a roof over their heads, about persons with disabilities who can’t make it into the workforce and, therefore, don’t have a right to unemployment benefits, about young people who are not entitled to sick-leave benefits because they haven’t worked enough. There are many groups that people don’t talk about,” Lööf said.

Lööf did not present any concrete social or environmental policy proposals. Asked whether she would consider raising the gasoline tax, she answered that an offensive environmental policy must be balanced against the need for people to be able to live and work all over the country, TT writes.

The Centre Party will work on developing a new party programme, to be voted on at a meeting in 2012.

Lööf said it’s important for the party to find its way back to its values before concrete proposals are presented. She pointed to a recent proposal by the party leadership to make the equal sharing of parental leave between parents mandatory as an example of the party straying from its core values.

The proposal was voted down Saturday morning. Instead, the party will establish a plan based on economic incentives, not quotas, to encourage a more equal sharing of parental leave, TT writes.