In 1975 Sweden granted foreign citizens who had resided in the country for more than three years voting rights in local and regional elections. This reform was part of a major long-term decision concerning the type of immigration policy that Sweden would espouse. It was hoped that inviting the foreigners, who comprised 5 percent of the population, to participate as voters and as candidates in ordinary elections would bring a number of advantages. First, politicians would take more interest in the problems of migrants. Second, migrants themselves would become more interested and active in politics and eventually become better organized in local political associations. Third, the national immigration policy, and especially programs to improve the living conditions of foreign workers, would receive higher attention in the local communities. Finally, it was hoped that the end result would be a reduced risk of ethnic and racial conflict in the future.