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Political Economy



Swedish Social Democrat crave more ethnic diversity in the party as it continues to renew and rejuvenate itself

Monday, 1 April 2013
The Swedish Social Democrats party will likely take office if the opinion pulls presented recently hold in a new election. But the party has one major problem it wants to address, diversifying the party along ethnic lines. The question is could that be possible?

The Social Democrats are making progress in the Swedish political scene and have been described by some leading pundits as that the party could likely take office if an election was to be held today. There has been a clear leadership change, with more young people joining the ranks of the party up and down the country. But one thing continues to bug some party leaders - there are few representatives from non-European background in top positions. Carin Jämtin, secretary general (pictured below) is worried and wants to see the party broadened more, allowing dark skinned people or those with dark hair and non-blue eyes to join higher ranks of the party.

"We need to work on, to make sure that there are people of different descent, born in Sweden, not born in Sweden, who come from both the continent of Africa or Latin America or the Arab world or Asia," says Jämtin to radio Sweden.

In twenty years, the party has worked with alternating lists to get up the women to prominent position. It now seems that approach has yielded results.

Soon the party will be led by women in all the big cities - Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö, Uppsala, Västerås, Linköping and Örebro, according to report analysis.

This shows a strong sign of leadership change in the country. In addition, half of the party's top names of the twenty largest municipalities are born in the 70's.
But people with non-European backgrounds are disadvantaged - which is also confirmed by a recent report from the Youth League of the Social Democrat Party (SSU).

But Carin Jämtin does not believe in any form of affirmative action to increase diversity on the party's ranks, but that its activities and policies will naturally attract non Swedish - looking people. However, the questions is  the party welcoming and does it allow people with immigrant background to thrive and express themselves in such a way that they can feel that they could be part of the larger Swedish society?

The Swedish society is a very complex tribal network that people like Jämtin would never know. Immigrants are discouraged, for example from their accent in speaking the Swedish language, something that is use here as a very strong tool for integration.
The Swedes would want immigrants to speak Swedish language in a way that does not show that they have  immigrant background. Thus those with a little diverse accent would always feel discourage to take part in something that will make them not to gain confidence in the Swedish society. Language proficiency is thus something that will make most immigrants - looking people shy away from public life in Sweden. Untill the time comes where understanding communication is better that house it sounds, Sweden for the Swedish...
by Team

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