STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN. Following the European elections that took place on Sunday, May 25 in Sweden, the political party Feminist Initiative (Feministisk Initiativ) earned 5.30% of the voters’ share, surpassing the 4% national threshold for the first time. The voter turnout in Sweden stood at 48.8%, the largest turnout in Sweden since this country is a member of the European Union.
The percentage that Feminist Initiative (sometimes referred to as F!) got in these elections entitles the party to one seat in the European Parliament which will be occupied by FI’s top candidate Soraya Post, who will quit her job as the strategist at the rights committee in the Swedish region Västra Götaland.
Soraya Post joined the Feminist Initiative in November 2013 declaring that reading the Party’s political program was like “finding home”.
Prior to the elections, Soraya Post declared that she would like to have the EU create a “Commission of Truth” to investigate the “crimes against gypsies” and establish a EU-wide truth on the matter. She also said that if elected she will push for the creation of two new Commissioner portfolios in the European Commission – The Commissioner for Gender Equality and the Commissioner for Combating Racism.
After the results were announced, Soraya Post declared to the Swedish media that she feels vindicated:
There are so many emotions [that I have now]. Somehow, I feel vindicated for my people and as a woman. The people have shown that they like and that there is room for our feminist politics and that this is not exclusionary.
The political party is led by radical feminist Gudrun Schyman, who was in the past the leader of the former Communist Party (now reformed into The Leftist Party). In the night of the elections following interviews with the press, Schyman held a speech in front of the party members gathered to celebrate the result:
Now we will soon be having 15,000 members. Then we will be equal with political parties that have been around for 100 years. This says a something about the power of the people. We are almost invincible!
Following the standing ovations from the audience, Schyman added:
We have just completed an election campaign but started a popular movement. This doesn’t stop today!
Gudrun Schyman and the Feminist Initiative were attacked several times in the Swedish media during the campaign for failing to explain certain aspects of their program or for their allegedly totalitarian platform.
Former Moderate Party magazine editor, feminist and current love coach, Carolin Dahlman accused FI of having a political program that basically assumes that they should be the ones who will dictate how everyone else should live – citing provisions from the FI’s political program such as mandatory vegan school meals or abolition of private education to make her case.
Helene Bergman, internationally renowned Swedish feminist went one step further and said that the FI attracts white broken women who want total power and harshly criticized the bullying tactics that FI’s activists have employed against anyone who dissented from their point of view.
Erik Helmerson from Dagens Nyheter published a piece calling the rise of FI to be amusing and “a little scary” citing the fact that FI’s political program demands “training” for almost anyone who is likely to disagree with FI’s analysis of the world.
William Andersson, the head of AVFM Sverige, however, believes that the Swedish media has largely been the engine behind FI’s success:
The election debate in Sweden has been very strange. All the media has totally been focused to the point of obsession on the new social conservative party [Sweden’s Democrats, ed. note] that they seem to think have a secret Nazi agenda. On the other side of the scale the feminists have been cuddled and named as the arch enemy of the dreaded “nazis”, and that led to this situation. The feminists have campaigned in a very clever way, but they are as we know masters in disguising their true agenda. And in this election, the media has supported them in a very disgusting overtly partisan mode.
Toklandet Sverige, Swedish non-feminist blogger added that:
It’s actually understandable how they got here. There was a report on TV in which they interviewed people who have voted for FI and asked them about FI’s policies and they could not respond to anything. Quite a few of them simply do not know what FI stands for but voted them anyway, while other who voted for them have an ingrained pure hatred of men in themselves – it’s horrible.
FI has in its party political program that men ought to be sent to a retraining course to change their consumption patterns, a provision which liberal commentator Rebecca Weidmo Uvell compared with the concept of re-education camps. Nobody in FI was willing to make clear whether they refer to all men or only some men. Toklandet Sverige rhetorically asked:
I’m wondering whether Europe is ready for a political party that actually wants “re-education camps” for men?
Gudrun Schyman completed the night expressing hope that in the September national elections, FI will finally succeed in entering the Swedish Parliament.