Monday, September 13, 2010

Sweden Votes 2010

This Sunday Swedes will head to the polls to elect a government. Swedish politics are a fairly static business, or at least they used to be. Until 2006, the Social Democrats and their allies had held power for all but seven of the proceeding seventy years. So when Fredrik Reinfeldt and his New Moderate led Alliance won in 2006, it was a major victory. Like the previous centre-right government it looked like Reinfeldt was going to be doomed by a terrible economy. However, Reinfeldt has proved more resilient and a week out the opinion polls show that he and his allies have opened up a significant lead. Of course, this is all academic depending on what happens on election day. All the drama will revolve around the 4% threshold to hold seats in the Riksdag, the Swedish parliament, under Sweden's PR-based MMP system. Three parties seem to be hovering around that number and how many of those parties reach the threshold will likely determine the stability of the Riksdag.

Sweden has traditionally been a seven party system with two stable coalitions. The Social Democrats currently led by Mona Sahlin are supported by the Left Party (Communist) and the Green Party. The New Moderates led by Reinfeldt are supported by the Liberal Party, the Centre Party (a farmers' party reminiscent of the old Canadian Progressives) and the Christian Democrats. The Centre Party and the Christian Democrats have fallen on hard times, in spite of being in government, and are perilously close to political oblivion. Should either party fail to reach that threshold, the Alliance may fall short of a majority in the Riksdag if the Swedish Democrats are able to break the threshold and crash the party. The xenophobic, nationalist Swedish Democrats are politically radioactive for the mainstream parties but should they win seats, they have a very good chance of holding the balance of power. If that happens on Sunday, the normally consensus-driven Riksdag may find itself at an unprecedented impasse.

No comments:

All views expressed in this blog are those of the author and the author alone. They do not represent the views of any organization, regardless of the author's involvement in any organizations.

All comments are the views of the individual writer. The administrator reserves the right to remove commentary which is offensive.

The author is not responsible for nor does he support any of the advertisements displayed on the page