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General Elections in Sweden

by A swedish kind of death Fri Sep 10th, 2010 at 03:09:10 PM EST

9 days from now the polls will just have closed in the 2010 general elections in Sweden. All local assemblies, all regional assemblies and the national parliament are voted forth in one big election.

Last time was in 2006 and I wrote up the aftermath in Swedish politics: Rascism, Scandals and Piracy.


The rules are the same as 2006:

Basic rules of the game:
Sweden will hold general elections on Sunday, September 17 19. The elections will be for the national parliament, regional, and local government. The national elections are for the one chamber parliament, arranged in local multi-person electoral districts on a proportional basis. There are also a number of national seats in the parliament that are distributed among the parties to ensure a nationwide proportional representation. A party must get 4% of the votes nationally, or 12% is a single district to get any seats at all.

The cast has changed somewhat. In 2006 someone described the right side as:

The Alliance
Made up of the four "right wing" parties. (the Moderate party, the Liberal party, the Centre party, and the Christian Democrats)  None of these parties have a chance to get even close to a majority on their own. They have decided to settle their differences before the election and agree on how to rule together if they collectively get the votes.

And that is still true. The left side however, has decided to mimic the right and now they run together as the RedGreens. They consist of:

  • Social Democrats
    This is the party presently in power until 2006. In fact, they have been in power since 1932 with only some briefer periods (9 years in total) in opposition.

  • The Left Party
    Used to be the Communist Party before that fell out of fashion. Could be a coalition partner for the Social Democrats depending on how their respective elections go. Or they might end up as a support party for a minority Social Democratic government as they are now.

  • The Environmental party
    Also a potential coalition partner or support party for the Social Democrats, and maybe also for the Alliance? They might swing where they get a better deal I heard suggested somewhere, but they are counted in the Left block in polls.

There are still seven parties, but they basically run as two alternatives. There have been lots and lots of polls, many with the blocs virtually tied, but last week, the Alliance has appeared to pull away. But then polls make opinion more than they measure it.

Outside of the current parliament, there are three parties with at least some chance:

  • Sweden Democrats
    The classic ugly party, runs on a platform of throwing out the Muslims which then pays for more jobs to the (white) young, higher pensions for seniors and ponies for all. Has consistently polled around 4% and nobody would be surprised if they got in. They are a potential spoiler to the current bloc-model as neither bloc wants to touch them.

  • The Pirate Party
    The oldest Pirate Party runs on a platform of copyright- and patent-reform and defence of civil liberties. Got one (and a ghost) seat in the EP election of 2009. Has consistently polled around 2% and would cause much surprise if they enter parliament. Probably will pick up local and regional seats though. Has declared that they are willing to let either bloc rule if their agenda is met.

  • Feminist Initiative
    Led by former Left Party leader Gudrun Schyman, they ran in the 2006 election and got a result similar to the pirates, around 0.6-0.7%. Got better results in the EP election but no seats. Would cause massive surprise if they pass 4%. And they run on a feminist platform, but you probably figured that much out for yourself.

Truth in advertising: I am still a card-carrying member of the Pirate Party. (Or, if there was actual cards I would probably carry it. Keep my login safe though.)

Now, I could write diaries upon diaries about the campaign, but I have to litter my neighbourhood with pamphlets in mailboxes and posters almost everywhere.

Display:
Nowadays, we even have enough pamphlets to put them in mailboxes. And they are printed, and has colour. Back in 2006 we only had black and white and sometimes we were out of white. The young pirates (btw biggest political youth organisation in Sweden) of today do not know how lucky they are.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Sep 10th, 2010 at 03:25:19 PM EST
Waaah, I was just going to write this! ;P

I promise to do a game-theory focused follow-up, very soon.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Sep 10th, 2010 at 07:42:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
Waaah, I was just going to write this! ;P

Early bird gets to do the easy cut-and-paste presentation :)

Starvid:

I promise to do a game-theory focused follow-up, very soon.

Please do. I probably will not write much more this week, except to put up a result thread on sunday (if no-one else does it faster).

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Sep 11th, 2010 at 04:55:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, that's a fine thing.  You've got a wonderful (to an American leftie) PR/parliamentary system and it looks like the parties are moving toward a two-party system.  
by FoolsErrand on Fri Sep 10th, 2010 at 03:37:03 PM EST
Well, I wouldn't call a two-party system a fine thing...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Sep 10th, 2010 at 04:19:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Read it like a fellow sitting on a bar stool next to you takes a long pool from a pint, sighs, and declares to the general assembly, "Well, that's a fine thing!" ...

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Sep 11th, 2010 at 12:45:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From what I gather Alliance is a coalition of parties and that's a different thing.

Besides, things are way different in Sweden, e.g., the Moderate Party (center) would comprise the left wing of the Dems here in the US.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Sep 10th, 2010 at 06:50:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My bad.  I forgot, on the Internet, no one can tell when you're being sarcastic.  I would be happy, I am sure, with any of the parties on the Swedish ballot.  I am certainly not happy with any of my choices here in the US of A.
by FoolsErrand on Fri Sep 10th, 2010 at 08:43:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"I am certainly not happy with any of my choices here in the US of A."

Fixed.

The TexasTeaParty will never be allowed to take power ... though they will be permitted to take the occasional office, since that it not the same thing. So its CorporatePartyInc vs CorporatePartyInc.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Sep 11th, 2010 at 12:47:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tack.

Jag hoppades att någon (vem vet vad de talar om) skulle göra detta.

(He wrote, in his Google© validated terrible "Swedlish".)

The Valmyndigheten (Election Authority) has an English web site available.

Welcome to the Election Authority´s web site in English! Here you will find a selection of information and material especially produced in English to provide an overview of Swedish elections and election administration.

Recent polling by Synovate - a global marketing firm - is reported in The Local:

Together, the four parties of the Alliance increased their support by 2.1 percent to 50.5 percent, according to the latest Synovate poll, which were published on Friday in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) and Sydsvenskan newspapers.

At the same time, combined support for the Red-Greens dropped by 2.7 percent to 42.2 percent, with all three parties which make up the coalition - the Social Democrats, the Greens, and the Left Party; all losing support.

Meanwhile, the far-right Sweden Democrats saw their support rise by 1.3 percent to 6.0 percent, which is a statistically significant increase.

The Local is also reporting:

Sofie Jakobsson of Borgholm [a local Christian Democratic politician] on the west coast of the island of Öland announced on Thursday that she supported the introduction of municipal or state-controlled brothels in Sweden, naming it one of the top three political issues that are most important to her on her website.

Other Christian Democrat candidates and Party officials have run away from her and her announcement so fast you can see the dust rising from Denmark.  

"What she said in the survey is in no way sanctioned by us," Mikael Almqvist, the top Christian Democrat delegate on the ballot, told local newspaper Ölandsbladet on Thursday. "This is the private person Sofie Jakobsson who spoke on behalf of herself and not the party.

Arne Sjögren, the third delegate on the Christian Democrat ballot, also rejected her statement.

"This did not seem well thought out at all," he told Ölandsbladet on Thursday. "I think she regrets it."

Further to the Right a ... unique ... development:

Pia Kjærsgaard, the leader for the Danish People's Party (Dansk Folkeparti) has accepted an invitation from the far-right Sweden Democrats to take part in an election rally in Högänäs in southern Sweden on Saturday.

May be I just fell off the lefse, ligonberry, and lutfisk delivery van but International Solidarity and Co-operation between nationalist parties seems a wee tad 'against The Point & Purpose' of a nationalist party.

Or, to quote Crazy Horse, "Or not."

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Sep 10th, 2010 at 06:44:41 PM EST
It may be that far right parties have cross border ties, because of the existence of the European Parliament.

There have been problems in the past, because of differences between Austrian and Italian groups over South Tyrol/Trentino-Alto Adige, but I get the impression that some sort of co-operation takes place between extremists.

by Gary J on Sat Sep 11th, 2010 at 01:17:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That was supposed to be an 'ending on a light note.' :-)

There seems to be weak-to-strong connections between the various skinhead groups across national borders in Europe stretching to the US.  There's even NSDAP groups in Russia as a part of this network ... which is a bit of a mind-blower.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Sep 11th, 2010 at 01:30:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I find this somewhat mind-blowing : the historical party of power in Sweden is now a partner in a coalition known as the "red-greens"...

I like to think of Sweden as the great precursor. In terms of social relations (men/women), economy, ecology, education, social welfare... at least 95% of humanity have a great deal to learn from Swedish example. Until relatively recently, I would have been optimistic about the hypothesis that we are all, more or less, on a catch-up trajectory ... I'm afraid all bets are off in that respect.

Still. Red-greens! The future of humanity.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sat Sep 11th, 2010 at 04:04:23 PM EST
The red-red-green (to use the German terminology) as a government coalition is a new thing in swedish politics. Not that they have not partnered before, but then it has always been a Soc-Dem government with ruling with support in parliament. The Soc-Dems has not sat in a government with ministers from other parties since the 50ies (Erlander's second government, coalition with Peasant Party (since then rebranded as Centern and now part of the Alliance)).

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sat Sep 11th, 2010 at 04:52:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...and why did red-red-green lose popularity in recent months?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Sep 12th, 2010 at 02:37:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Basically because they brought their extremely unpopular chairman out of hiding. Now that the voters are more exposed to her, they are running away. Add to this that they have launched a joint soc dem-green-left part election platform, which means the voters are reminded that by voting for the soc dem they are also voting in (former, or as late of 2005) communists in government. I have friends who might very well vote for the soc dems, but absolutely hate communists and would rather vote for the right.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Sep 12th, 2010 at 08:51:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would say because the predominantly right wing media has hammered the red-greens on the narrative front, while giving a free pass to much of the current ministers.

Four years ago the narrative was that the alliance overcame obstacle after obstacle, reaching ever new compromises and finding common ground while prime minister Person was old and could not answer where the jobs would come from. This year with almost exactly the same unemployment (actually, I think it is a bit higher) every time the red-greens has released something the focus has been on what was not there, ie on what they disagree on. The governments failure on unemployment is hardly mentioned.

I bet the soc-dem party strategists bitterly regret that their predecessors closed down the soc-dem press in the crises of the early 90ies.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Sep 12th, 2010 at 03:45:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I bet the soc-dem party strategists bitterly regret that their predecessors closed down the soc-dem press in the crises of the early 90ies.

When is the Left going to learn Communication is a sina qua non of politics?  Depending on the Right Wing press to carry a Left Wing message is STUPID.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Sep 15th, 2010 at 12:17:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Local |  Alliance pulls away with a week to go: poll

For the second successive Sifo survey, which is published by the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) daily, the Alliance claimed an absolute majority with 51.7 percent of the vote, with the centre-left trailing with 42 percent, an increase of almost 2 points.

The Alliance has Sweden's female voters to thank for the boost, SvD reported, with the centre-right enjoying the backing of 52.8 percent of the female voters, to 43.9 percent for the centre-left, a reverse of the situation in the spring.

"Generally speaking women are interested in welfare issues, but the Red-Greens have not managed to get the election campaign to be about welfare," said Toivo Sjóren at Sifo to SvD.

Here's the story in Svenska Dagbladet:

Stark ledning för alliansen

Den borgerliga alliansen leder med nästan 10 procentenheter över de rödgröna, enligt SvD/Sifos mätning en vecka före valet. Socialdemokraterna ligger kvar på en historiskt låg nivå samtidigt som Miljöpartiet också tappar stöd. Även Centern backar, medan Kristdemokraterna har en säker uppgång.

This paragraph jumped out to me (apologies for the 'Swedlish'):

Generellt brukar kvinnorna vara intresserade av välfärdsfrågorna, men de rödgröna har inte lyckats få valrörelsen att handla om välfärden. Man har tappat kvinnorna i storstäderna och genom att miljöfrågorna kommit bort har även Miljöpartiet tappat en del kvinnor på slutet, säger Toivo Sjörén, chef för Sifos opinionsmätningar.- Generally, women are interested in the welfare issues, but the red-green has never had a campaign to be about welfare. It has lost the women in big cities and by environmental concerns have also been removed Green Party lost some men in the end, "said Toivo Sjoren, director of Sifo opinion polls.

Is this the most elementary blunder a political party can make?  Did they try to 'move center' to pick-up votes shedding a greater number from their loosely attached constituency?

One other thing to note.  In the US, and I'm going to assume it's the same in Sweden, hard right parties tend to poll lower than their actual vote; people don't want to 'out' themselves as a bigot.  Thus, they lie to pollsters.  IF this is true in Sweden, and we won't know for a week, the Sweden Democrats could pick-up as much as 2% and possibly even 3% - depending on how far Right the election swings -  over their polling numbers making them A Player in forming the new government.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Sep 12th, 2010 at 01:43:57 PM EST
And now, this:

Local | Swedes' party loyalty very much in play: poll

More than one million Swedish voters may yet change their allegiance on election day, according to a new poll, signaling that the battle for control of the Riksdag is far from over.

"The election is still undecided. We're aware that many people are now entering the phase when they start to decide," prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt told the TT news agency on Saturday.

throwing up his hands

I know Swedes don't like to bluntly say "ja" or "nej" but this is getting somewhat ridiculous.  

On the other hand, I could move to Sweden, start the Får Politiskt Parti (Maybe Party) and win every election from now till doomsday.  

:-D


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Sep 12th, 2010 at 02:38:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
- Generally, women are interested in the welfare issues, but the red-green has never had a campaign to be about welfare. It has lost the women in big cities and by environmental concerns have also been removed Green Party lost some men in the end, "said Toivo Sjoren, director of Sifo opinion polls.

The translation is rather poor. Rather than "never had a campaign to be about welfare issues" it should read "never got the campaign [season] to focus on welfare issues," and "by environmental concerns have also been removed" should be "and as the environmental issue has receded [from public consciousness], even the Green Party has lost quite a few women lately."

One other thing to note.  In the US, and I'm going to assume it's the same in Sweden, hard right parties tend to poll lower than their actual vote; people don't want to 'out' themselves as a bigot.  Thus, they lie to pollsters.

This is also the case in Europe. The pollsters here know that, and correct for it by multiplying the survey response with the ratio between actual votes in the last pertinent election and survey response. So unless the proportion of people who lie about being skinhead sympathisers has increased, it shouldn't matter.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Sep 12th, 2010 at 03:39:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the US, and I'm going to assume it's the same in Sweden, hard right parties tend to poll lower than their actual vote; people don't want to 'out' themselves as a bigot.  Thus, they lie to pollsters.  IF this is true in Sweden, and we won't know for a week, the Sweden Democrats could pick-up as much as 2% and possibly even 3% - depending on how far Right the election swings -  over their polling numbers making them A Player in forming the new government.

This is 100 % right.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sun Sep 12th, 2010 at 06:16:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The rise of the Sverigedemokraterna was a predictable phenomena.  People are threatened by The Other and when immigrates comprise 12% of the population, arriving in so short a time, it strains the social fabric.  Both from the existing population and from the arriving population; refugees create especially high tensions since they, most likely, didn't want to move in the first place, don't want to be were they are, and lack the psychological basis for acculturating to their new countries mores, daily life, & so on.  

This is a big reason the US has had a strong, continuing, history of nativist 'Know-Nothing' streak; one we're seeing played-out with Hispanic immigration today.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Sep 12th, 2010 at 07:22:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree that it was predictable, but not on the reason why.

Immigration to Sweden has been high since world war two, first refugees from the war, then (rough immigration history) finnish, yugoslavian and italians during the 50ies and 60ies to man the growing industries, chileans during the 70ies, iraqis and iranians during the 80ies, yugoslavians and somalians during the 90ies, and iraqis during the 00ies. I would say that Swedish society today is far more accepting of diversification of culture then Sweden in the 50ies (when it was apparently common behaviour to stop, stare and possibly point if a brown person walked down the street).

Sverigedemokraterna has been slowly rising since a meek start in the early 90ies. I would couple their rise with the economic policy of unemployment (standard neo-lib package) that Sweden has followed since the 90ies crises. Until 1990 Sweden had a policy of full employment, so refugees found jobs quickly and by that found a way into society. After 1990 refugees - being low on contacts - has had a hard time finding jobs and has tended to cluster even more to earlier groups of immigrants from similar culture - as there is where their only contacts are. With unemployment also among white people comes the need to blame. Accepted blaming has in particular been directed at young people (lazy) and sick people (faking), while the Sverigedemokraterna is targeting muslims (I remember when they hated black africans most of all, and arabs (as they were known then) were considered almost-european) with all the usual stereotypes.

Essentially an institutionalised unemployment is not only wasteful but also needs someone to blame, so unemployed young white males are easily steered towards blaming the foreigners. It is all about MUD:

Ruth Levitas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

MUD (the moral underclass discourse), SID (the social integration discourse), and RED (the redistribution discourse)

This also fits neatly with why Sweden is late with this development, permanent unemployment was not established here in the early 80ies but in the early 90ies. We are ten years behind on the curve.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Sep 14th, 2010 at 04:57:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Polling shows Alliance Lead:

Steady poll lead continues for Alliance".

The centre-right Alliance's steady poll lead continues, with a new voter survey published on Wednesday giving them support of 49.8 percent of the voters. Support for the far-right Sweden Democrats also reached new highs.

Support for the centre-left Red-Green coalition came in at 40.9 percent, according to the poll, carried out by Synovate and published in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

The Sweden Democrats saw their support go from 6 percent last week to 7.5 percent, the party's highest level of support so far in a Synovate poll.

"Future surveys will determine if this is a randomly high result, but with a margin of error of 1.5 percent upwards and downwards, the Sweden Democrats are now between 6 and 9 percent," Synovate analyst Nicklas Källebring told DN.

And if the Synovate results correspond to the actual election results, the Sweden Democrats would find themselves with 27 seats in the parliament, making them the third largest party after the Moderates and the Social Democrats.



She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Sep 15th, 2010 at 11:54:48 AM EST
Forgot to add:

The link reports 17% of Swedish voters still have to make up their minds, enough to swing the election back to the center-Left.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Sep 15th, 2010 at 12:12:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meta Comment:

As last night's US primaries and the rise of the Swedish Democrats show a nativist Populism backed by millions of advertising/propaganda is a vote catcher.  The global financial meltdown is starting to have political consequences.  Unless the Left gets serious about addressing the deep problems the 'Washington Consensus' has created we're going to find ourselves right back in the 19th Century with nationalistic governments clawing at each other for Spheres of Influence.  That's a winning answer for the oligarchy; not so much for the rest of us.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Sep 15th, 2010 at 12:27:39 PM EST
Went outside and took out my frustration on the woodpile.

"Take THAT you son-of-a-bitch"  whack

"Take this wedge and shove it up your ass"    wham

('twas a New Mexico chain saw massacre)

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Sep 15th, 2010 at 03:48:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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