The Swedish Left Party has introduced a parliamentary motion that would allow foreign nationals, as well as refugees, to vote in both national and European Parliament elections.
The motion argues that refugees and foreign residents should have the same voting franchise as Swedish citizens saying, “Today, there are many people who are permanently resident in Sweden and who are only able to influence their everyday lives through democratic elections to the municipal and county councils.”
“The people denied today to exercise a democratic influence in referendums, parliamentary elections, and EU parliamentary elections include those who came to Sweden as refugees, who are spouses of Swedish citizens, or who immigrated to Sweden, for example, to study or work,” the motion adds.
The party argues that giving non-citizens the same voting rights as citizens would “involve a greater sense of participation, togetherness, and increased self-esteem” among migrants currently ineligible to vote.
The motion also requests that the voting age is lowered to 16 in local elections to “attract young people’s interest and commitment to politics.”
Sweden is not the first country to seek to expand the franchise to refugees. Earlier this year, the Scottish National Party proposed giving both refugees and asylum seekers the right to vote in Scottish elections.
“Scotland is a welcoming country and our intention to extend the opportunity to vote to all those legally resident in Scotland, whatever their place of birth, I think should extend to refugees and asylum seekers,” said SNP parliamentary business minister Joe Fitzpatrick.
While Sweden has, in the last few years, seen large population growth due to mass migration and the arrivals of asylum seekers, some have pointed out how few minority MPs there are and how even fewer live in heavily migrant populated areas.
The concept of demographic replacement has also become a concern for the populist Sweden Democrats (SD) with SD MP Richard Jomshof recently giving a speech in parliament warning that native Swedes were on their way to becoming a minority in their own country without changes to mass migration policies.