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Polygamy: Europe's Hidden Statistic
by Judith Bergman
A few years ago, Sweden's Center Party, one of the four parties in the center-right governing coalition at the time, proposed legalizing polygamy. The idea caused outrage; the proposal was dropped. The party's youth division, however, refused to let go: "We think it is important for the individual to decide how many people he or she wants to marry," said Hanna Wagenius, head of Center Youth, predicting that polygamy would be legal in ten years, when her generation would enter parliament and make sure of it.
Sweden is not the only place in Scandinavia where "idealistic" youths have advocated polygamy. In 2012, the youth division of Denmark's Radikale Venstre Party ("Radical Left"), then part of the governing coalition in Denmark, also proposed that polygamy should be legalized in Denmark. The move came four years after an Iraqi asylum seeker, who had worked for the Danish military in Iraq as a translator and then fled to Denmark, arrived with two wives. As Denmark does not recognize bigamy and as he refused to divorce his second wife, he returned to Iraq. "It is unacceptable that we are so narrow-minded in Denmark, and will not help a man who has helped us. We want to do something about that," Ditte Søndergaard, head of Radikale Venstre Youth, said at the time. The proposal, however, did not find favor with any of the other political parties.
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