The story behind the Swedish Party, America’s other option

November 6, 2012

The Swedish Party, a satirical third party that has nominated Johan (no last name) for the presidency on a platform of turning the United States into Sweden's fourth state, is actually a project of some interns at a Swedish public relations firm. The fictional party pledges to implement Swedish-style universal health care, free education, "neutral" foreign policy and 13 months of maternity/paternity leave.

Studio Total initially developed the concept for a client, who turned it down. But, according to Swedish news outlet The Local, the firm's four interns got approval to go ahead with it, anyway. One of those interns is party candidate Johan Torresson, whose Facebook page also includes a photo of himself mocked up like the famous Obama "hope" poster (the caption reads "HÖPE"). Also apparently working on the project is Swedish artist Maria Uvelöv, based in Malmo, whose work is highly abstract.

"The current American model doesn’t seem to be working that well," Studio Total CEO Per Cromwell told The Local, adding that Swedes see America's political problems as potentially affecting them, as well. "We feel as if they sometimes get stuck and don’t see beyond the Democrats and Republicans. There are other ways of building a society."

Studio Total sparked a minor geopolitical incident in August when it air-dropped teddy bears over Belarus, Europe's last dictatorship. The bears carried signs reading "Free Speech Now" and were seen as an insult to the country's severely authoritarian government, which reacted by expelling the Swedish ambassador.

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Max Fisher | November 6, 2012