Swedish Elections today


#1

I just voted

I’ve refrained from posting about it before now because it’s been pretty anxiety inducing what with having to have booted racist/nazi political canvassers off our estate twice in the last month but today’s the day and it’s very complicated

one thing is for sure, there’s unlikely to be a functioning Government in Sweden for at the very least 3/4 weeks - maybe even not until Christmas

A quick 101

Today people (approx 7.5 million registered voters out of the 10 million pop.) are voting in 3 elections

  • Riksdag (Government)
  • Kommun (Local council)
  • Landsting (County Council)

The Riksdag vote is proportional representation with a 4% threshold ie all parties that receive 4% of the vote will receive an equivalent share of the 349 seats available

the local and county councils follow a similar system but with fewer seats up for grabs in each area of course

All votes are organised with party lists and you can either just vote for the party outright without choosing a candidate (and thus the party chooses the representative) or you can choose one of the names on the ballot paper (up to 40 names)

The current govt is red-green coalition between the Social Democrats (S) and the Green Party (Mp - miljöpartiet - environment party) with passive support from the left party aka Vänsterpartiet (V)

The opposition bloc is called ‘Alliansen’ and is made up of Moderaterna (M - Sweden’s version of the Tory party I guess), Centerpartiet (centre party C), Liberalarna (liberals L), and the Christian Democrats (KD… who are incidentally nothing like Merkel’s German version)

and then you have the Sweden Democrats (SD) who are the Nationalist/racist anti-immigration party who grew from basically being Nazis to somehow gaining political acceptance (I say somehow but it’s the same neo-liberal ‘centre conservative’ politics the Alliansen governed with for 8 years between 2006 - 2014 that has squeezed wages, pensions, health service & the welfare state which then gets sold to angry pensioners as ‘because brown people’)

those are the current Govt parties. There’s even a couple of parties to the right of SD who have some seats at local and council level; AfS - alternative for Sweden - whose policy #1 is forced repatriation of immigrants. These are the fuckers we kicked of our estate. And then there’s the NMR which is a full blown nazi party that believes in ‘racially purifying’ the whole of Scandinavia

Also, on the other side of the political spectrum worth mentioning are the Feminist party Fi (Feministiskt Initiativ) who were close to the 4% threshold in polling at the last election but came in with 3.1%

So at the last election it broke down like this;
S + Mp + V = 31 + 6.9 + 5.7 = 43.6%

M + C + L + KD = 23.3 + 6.1 + 5.4 + 4.6 = 39.4%

SD = 12.9%

others 4.1%

Even in this scenario it took weeks to negotiate the minority rule of S+MP(+V) with Alliansen voting down the Govt’s budget for the first full year and accepting passive support of SD to vote through their own budget ie the Govt were forced to operate a full financial year on the opposition’s budget.

The latest polls for today show;

S - 24.4% (-6.6)
Mp - 6.2% (-0.7)
V - 10% (+6.3)

M - 16.9% (-6.4)
C - 10% (+3.9)
L - 6% (+0.4)
KD - 6.3% (+1.7)

SD - 17% (+5.1)

Which means
current Govt. - 40.6% (-3)
Opposition Alliance - 39.2% (-0.2)
SD - 17% (+4.1)

55

with these figures it should be a pretty similar outcome to last time out BUT the opposition alliance are all insisting that the current Prime Minister Stefan Löfven needs to go and that even if their bloc polls lower than the red green bloc they will all vote with the Parliament to make Ulf Kristersson (the M leader) the new Prime Minister. This would rely on the SD vote to put Kristersson in the PM chair…and yet, all the alliance leaders swear blind that the SD are persona non grata and that SD’s politics have no place in a Sweden that stands for democracy & equality :man_shrugging:t2:

there are clearly a few paradoxes here, not least that certain party leaders in the Alliance are less hostile to SD (M & KD) and others COMPLETELY hostile (C & L) so any kind of deal that involves them either passively or actively supporting is likely to cause a split in the Alliance, doubly so if it involves any formal deals that give concessions/power/influence to SD

Further complicating a possible deal on the right is the fact that it looks like SD will come in as the 2nd largest party in Sweden ie a bigger vote share than even the biggest party in the opposition alliance M, which will give SD a senior rather than junior negotiating position

There has been talk - especially from C leader Annie Lööf and S Prime Minister Löfven about coalition across the bloc divide to keep out SD (and in fact C has earlier been in coalition on the other side of the aisle) but the sticking point there is that Annie Lööf sees the left party V as ‘extremists’ on the left nearly akin to SD’s extremism on the right (V evolved from the former Communist party, which had earlier split from S and only dropped the ‘communist’ part from their name in 1990)

So, we could have

  1. A red-green minority government
  2. a right-centre minority government with passive support from the far-right
  3. a right-far right coalition minority government, blue-brown official rule
  4. A new centre coalition designed to keep out both ‘far’ left & far right (S+Mp+C+L) but even that would be a minority Govt.
  5. A rainbow coalition/unity Government (unlikely and no more workable than any of the other options)

there’s one further possibility that is pretty frightening. A friend of mine who has been working for a polling company suggested to me that the figure of 17% for the SD is vastly underestimated as because even now there are huge numbers of shy SD voters. They suggested that they might poll as much as 25%, which would likely make them the biggest party in Sweden

It still means that 75% of adult Swedes are committed non-racists and the majority firmly committed anti-racists but it’s getting harder & harder hard to ignore them on a legislative level

anyway
tl;dr
but I reckoned you were owed a bit more in-depth than the crappy articles on the Guardian & BBC about the state of play

AMA


#2

Very informative post, thanks. :+1:t2:
Especially fascinated by this idea of operating on the opposition’s budget. In New Zealand (and I think the UK?) failing to pass a budget would mean the government would lose power, either to an opposition group or there would be a new election.

No chance of something like S+M+C as a centrist compromise? You didn’t mention it, I’m guessing the Social dems and Moderaterna are too far apart? Would the Left or Greens prop up a centrist minority government? [As a Green supporter, I’m used to seeing the Labour Party go into coalitions with the centre-right, with our support mostly taken for granted, so it’s not a new concept].


#3

S+M+C would be workable from the point of view of keeping SD at bay but both S voters & M voters would feel completely betrayed by seeing their party in coalition with the other, both blocs would be irreparably ruined and the only way I can even see M agreeing to that is if Ulf Kristersson guarantee’s himself the Prime Minister position at the expense of Löfven. Definitely wouldn’t fly

also S+M+C would perhaps even not be enough to get 50% - it’s very tight on the polling figures


#4

Forgot to mention, there is a formal procedure for the Parliament to elect the PM at the start of each mandate period which is kind of akin to a vote of no confidence. If this went through 4 rounds without a PM being elected it would automatically lead to a new election with 3 months


#5

Basically;
A defeated PM, by convention, formally resigns at the beginning of the mandate period and the new leader is put to a vote. If the sitting PM doesn’t resign there is in any case a confidence vote in his or her ability to govern. It’s a negative vote process ie the incumbent (or new candidate in the case of a PM resignation) survives if fewer than 50% oppose their nomination.

If the candidate (either sitting PM or new PM) doesn’t survive this vote the speaker of the house goes to the next largest party leader & a new vote occurs with the same process

4 of these with failure to result in a clearly supported new PM leads to an automatic new election within 3 months


#6

Aside from misinformation on the media and on the internet, what would you put the rise of the far right down to?

Understand that this might be a very big question.


#7

racism

as I said - neo-liberal economic policies have hurt wages, welfare, health service, pensions etc

& populism has succeeded in laying the blame for that at the feet of brown people - Sweden isn’t particularly unique in this - and this has stoked racism

plus there has been a long history of white supremacy in Scandinavia and this ethnic identity of the blonde & blue eyed Swede etc but it’s the same populist bollocks that we see all over europe


#8

I had a reply all typed out asking for elaboration in the least naive way possible but you seem to have covered it, cheers.


#9

one thing that seems to be underplayed though is the ‘loss aversion’ that we see in people’s fear that what they have is going to be taken away, which partially explains that why, even in relatively wealthy and stable social democracies (Scandinavia & Holland) there has always been this undercurrent of racism/xenophobia that you also have seen in the UK ie the most anti-immigration areas are invariably those with the lowest immigration, they feel they have to preserve something against a perceived threat


#10

I guess it’s inevitable in economies where rampant reckless capitalism can suck billions out of the economy because they are too big to fail.


#11

yup

but in Sweden it’s a bit more complex than in the UK in terms of how the authoritarian/libertarian axis falls across the left/right axis and even within certain parties when it comes to certain policy areas - swedish kids for instance are given so much more freedom and responsibility than British kids and are totally allowed to answer back & be free-thinking and not physically reprimanded or coerced into conformative behaviour …but of course the brown kids ‘aren’t Swedish’ are they so they need to be told! smh

so there are social and cultural complexities that get twisted into the economic equation kind of a bit like they do in the British class system - working class kids taking drugs are abusing and a menace whereas middle class kids are experimenting and ‘going through a phase’. If you can imagine that Sweden has been largely ‘classless’ for decades and is now increasingly fragmented, often along ethnic lines due to structural discrimination


#12

This is really interesting but also fairly depressing.


#13

Aye, but even though it has some subtle Swedish flavours it isn’t in any way unique - standard neo-liberal centre-right economics feeds far right populism

Trying to get a far-right supporter to see that helping immigrants & asylum seekers is the only way forward rather than demonising & dehumanising them is the toughest part. Not even far-right…across a large swathe of the political spectrum the idea that some people are worthy beneficiaries of the fruits of a functioning society while others are parasites is unfortunately rather standard practice

Of course, far right political entities never want to actually solve the problems they talk about, they just want to use them to gain power

Still, with all this said, Sweden is by far the most equal society with the highest standard of living that I’ve ever been exposed to, which I guess is what makes the spectacle so fascinating to outsiders - so far to potentially fall


#14

Polls close in 1 minute


#15

Exit polls

Fuck


#16

Could you explain the nine parties in the top graphic to me? Is it just the parties from left to right politically?


#17

Ok, looks different on the other channel’s exit poll

Too close to conclude anything


#18

There’s an exit poll on my timeline that suggests SDs are third, on 16.3%?

Cheers for all the info on this @BodyInTheThames, really informative and helpful :+1:


#19

Hoping for the best possible outcome for you (and us as your neighbours) here pal. It’s bad enough with our government.


#20

Great posting, and fingers crossed (or thumbs held) for the least bad result possible tonight. Nice one kicking those AfS mugs off your patch too. I’ve been living in Gothenburg for about 15 months now and have ended up in a few altercations myself.