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Swedish election sadness

by A swedish kind of death Mon Sep 15th, 2014 at 09:20:30 AM EST

This did not end well.

Looked good half a year ago with the left in the lead, but now my facebook flow is filled with grief.

The right wing lost. The small parties all clung to parliament, but Moderaterna lost almost a third of their votes. The four parties in the former government got 39%, and Reinfelt has resigned both as PM and as leader of Moderaterna (new election to party leader this spring). Total 142 seats (lost 31).

The left wing lost. The soc-dems did their second worst election since world war two. So up one seat. The greens lost one seat and the left gained two. Total 158 seats (gained 2).

The feminists got 3% and did not enter parliament. Probably would not have been a red-red-green-pink majority anyway, but there is a lot of sadness about wasted votes or not enough left wing support votes. It looks like they picked up some local seats, but they did not run in many places, in fact they ran in fewer places then the pirates.

And the pirates lost. Looks like a no gained seats right now. There is still a chance for a few local seats, but not a good one (Sweden has an automatic recount of all votes that will be finished thursday at latest).

So who won? The rascist twits in Sverigedemokraterna won, and that big time. They more then doubled and are now at 13%, they are the third largest party (in some regions the second largest) and they have a parliamentary position that makes any government hard to form.

Next government will probably be soc.dem-green with some side deals with the left party and/or smaller right wing parties. But it will be so weak that Sweden may have its first snap election since the fifties.

So in a conclusion, everybody lost.

According to Wikipedia:
Swedish Social Democratic Party 113
Moderate Party			 84
Sweden Democrats		 49
Green Party			 24
Centre Party			 22
Left Party			 21
Liberal People's Party		 19
Christian Democrats		 17

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 15th, 2014 at 09:37:42 AM EST
To form a new government you need to be nominated by the outgoing speaker (who right now is conducting talks with the party leaders) and not be opposed by a majority in parliament. A PM then presents his or her ministers and the PM can rule until opposed by a majority (even if elections are held the PM can continue until opposed). If four people are nominated and refused, new elections are automatic. This has never happened, indeed we have never had more then one vote on government formation.

But to rule you need to be able to pass a budget. The budget is passed that gets the most votes. Normally, each party votes for their own budget and when the budget of main opposition party faces of against the governments budget, the smaller parties abstain. However, the former government are claiming that they will present and vote for a common budget at least this fall. That is 142 votes. A red-green government has 137 votes. If they get support from the left party they can pass a budget, unless the racist twits feels like toppling a left wing government. So right now, the negotiations are between a prospective red-green government and the Centre Party (farmers) and Liberal People's Party to have their support for at least the first budget. The left party is left in the cold (which might be a good thing, long term, as they will not share the blame directed at the government).

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

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Sep 17th, 2014 at 05:08:54 AM EST
Are there no votes requiring an absolute majority (half plus one) of those present, or of all MPs? And what about votes by a qualified majority (say two thirds of all MPs)? That is, can a minority government live off of relative majorities through an entire governing period?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Sep 17th, 2014 at 07:39:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as I know, there are no votes demanding an absolute majority or super majority (constitutional changes are done by relative majority decision before an election and an exactly the same decision after an election). We even have a tradition - kvittning - where if one bloc is say two MPs short (for example due to illness or travel), two MPs from the other bloc abstains from voting.

So yes a minority government can make do with different relative majorities. This has more or less been the rule, however it has been stronger minority governments as they have had more seats themselves and typically needed only one extra party with several possible choices.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Sep 17th, 2014 at 08:56:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The whole system is built around giving the parliament as little independence as possible vis a vis the government and the party whips.
by chumchu on Wed Sep 17th, 2014 at 11:15:15 AM EST
Appointment of PM and passing the budget is set up to make it easy for minority governments. Legislation still requires a relative majority to pass. But with a very proportional distribution of seats and no direct election of the executive I think that is a rather an advantage that the system can work without a majority. For example in 1978-9 the parliament appointed Ullsten (liberal) as PM with 39 votes for (liberals), 66 against (conservatives & communists) and 215 abstaining (soc-dem and centre). Parliament was split in left and right, but also in pro-nuclear and anti-nuclear, which made a liberal government the least disliked option. Of course they had to build temporary coalitions to pass anything.

Swedish MPs rarely stray from the party line, and never when it matters, but I think that has more to do with strict control over nomination lists and a weak element of preference voting. Together that makes straying from the party line a quick way to end your career.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Sep 17th, 2014 at 02:19:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm just hoping that the NZ election this weekend, with a rather similar configuration, doesn't give a similar result -- or a worse one.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Sep 17th, 2014 at 12:44:11 PM EST
What is the problem with an SD-Moderate coalition? they would have a solid majority.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Sep 17th, 2014 at 11:37:54 PM EST
Was the vote to replace the leader of the Moderates scheduled for the spring so as to preclude a new government from including Moderates?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Sep 17th, 2014 at 11:40:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is a good question, and one I have been pondering. To some extent it is set by the party's time table. If it is the general assembly of the party that elects party leader and they don't meet until spring, spring it is.

As for Reinfeldt leaving right now even though they can't elect a successor I think it is part strategy, but mostly I think it is stepping out before the calls come for him to resign. As is, he is the longest serving right wing PM for at least a century and he steps down with a fairly good personal reputation.

Outgoing finance minister Borg has also declared he is leaving politics, leaving the party without any household names. That won't hurt them long term, but it makes sure that a new election is not in their interest.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Sep 18th, 2014 at 08:19:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No. A Moderate-Social Democrat government, a grand coalition, is unthinkable in Sweden. Inconceivable, barring an actual shooting war.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Sep 20th, 2014 at 11:14:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Social democrats-Moderate or Sweden democrats-Moderate? (The former is abbreviated SAP nowadays, and the latter SD)

I'll answer both. Social democrats-Moderate is not possible because Sweden has no tradition of grand coalitions and because they define themselves as the opposite of the other (while actually being quite similar).

Sweden democrats-Moderate is not possible because although the Sweden democrats has grown their support, they are also the most disliked party. Any party making a deal with them will pay a heavy penalty, and despite their tip of the scales position in the last parliament they have not wielded much power. Reinfeldt has also had a hard line towards the Sweden democrats, making it hard for him to jump into bed with them.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Sep 18th, 2014 at 08:13:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
First of all, they would not have the required 175 votes. Secondly, former PM Reinfeldt has been very, very anti-SD.

I think we're going to see a civil war in the Moderates - after all, the immigration policy pushed by SD is not very different to the one the Moderates supported before Reinfeldt came along.

I fail to see how Sweden is ever going to be able to have a right-wing government again if the right doesn't cooperate in some way with the rightwing populists, like in Denmark. Or if someone co-opts their policies.

The Swedish voters have rebelled against the sonderweg of having ten times as high asylum immigration from the third world as in other comparable countries. If the political system doesn't respond to these concerns in some way, I fear the Sweden democrats might top 20% in the next election.

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

by Starvid on Sat Sep 20th, 2014 at 11:12:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Any idea what the asylum immigration look like in terms of absolute numbers? Maybe relative to the general non-white population?
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Sep 22nd, 2014 at 09:11:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's some Eurostat data. Not relative to population size, but Sweden is by far the smaller of these countries.
In 2013, the highest number of persons granted protection status was registered in Sweden (26 400), followed by Germany (26 100), France (16 200), Italy (14 500) and the United Kingdom (13 400). All together, these five Member States accounted for more than 70% of all those granted protection status in the EU28.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Sep 22nd, 2014 at 09:23:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Numbers of course dwarfed not only by total populations but by the hundreds of thousands of non-asylum immigrants. Not to mention that xenophobes don't distinguish those granted asylum and asylum applicants, where the latter are usually kept in camps and cheap housing and denied legal employment opportunities, and then everyone acts surprised at the lack of integration. (Sweden's rate of recognition on first instance is 53%, Germany's 26%, France's a mere 17%. while recognitions on appeal are similar at between 15 and 18%.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Sep 22nd, 2014 at 09:57:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But note that if all asylum seekers apply, then even with your figures, the number of asylum seekers must be a lot larger in Germany relative to population than in Sweden. This isn't like Israel, where the  rate of recognition is around 0% and converting to Judaism once in the country has been ruled illegal (the high court just ruled that putting them in camps is illegal, but gave them 3 months to implement find a way around the ruling).

Anybody got figures of non-asylum immigrants whatever that means (for Swedish xenophobes this may include Greeks, but not include Americans, for example, so even EU vs non-EU may not be quite enough)?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Sep 22nd, 2014 at 03:55:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For the xenophobes it tends to be Nordic against non-Nordic. And even the Finns are suspect with their strange language.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Sep 23rd, 2014 at 03:16:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece is part of the Schengen area, which includes Sweden, so whatever xenophobes think, that's their problem. The basic classification is EU vs non-EU, and one can split the non-EU, non-asylum immigrants into categories, each to its own taste.

A few years back I dug a bit into the Dutch numbers on African illegal immigrants - but I found there isn't anything solid on non-asylum immigrants in regard to official figures, just estimates based on the numbers of police arrests, when police by coincidence discover someone has no legal status. It is not actively measured by policy, rarely researched and exceedingly difficult. Other means to attempt tallying the size of this group can be thought of (e.g. hospitalization), but these too would also form a proxy at best.

But what else is to be expected with a harsh government policy that actively pursues sending illegal immigrants straight across the borders and is blind for the very possible bureaucratic nightmare when people get stuck between nations and become de facto stateless? The upshot is that non-asylum immigrants (or those that applied and were not recognized) in the Netherlands actively avoid the means of government bookkeepings and drop out of the system and into darker circuits, with all the consequences that entails. Yet even stuck in these conditions, the people I interviewed confessed they were happier here than back home.

by Bjinse on Wed Sep 24th, 2014 at 08:44:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As a tangent, here is an interesting photoseries of transit immigrants in Greece:
Penso has spent several years documenting Europe's worsening immigration crisis. He's produced work on detention centres in Malta, migrant workers in southern Italy, and in 2012, he began a project documenting young people stuck in immigrant limbo, in Greece. Many of them are barely 18 years old.

"At the time, Greece had the harshest immigration regulations in Europe," Penso told an interviewer earlier this year.  "Almost all applications for asylum were being refused and a wall was being constructed on the country's northern border to stem immigration in that part of the country. The economic crisis that was engulfing Greece was also contributing to a marked rise in xenophobia" [...]

In Europe, migrants must claim asylum in the first country they enter or the first country in which they are identified. The purpose of this regulation (called "Dublin II") is to discourage multiple asylum claims, but the rules severely tax the resources of the countries bordering the Mediterranean, like Italy, or Greece. And the regulation often disadvantages migrants seeking to move beyond these Mediterranean countries, many of whom are often en route to relatives already established in another country. If they are found in another country, they get sent back to the country of reception.

And from the same source:

Greece's Neo-Nazi Politicians Are Awaiting Trial -- and as Popular as Ever
Golden Dawn may emerge as the third force in parliament
by das monde on Wed Sep 24th, 2014 at 11:05:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece is part of the Schengen area, which includes Sweden, so whatever xenophobes think, that's their problem.

But we were talking about the results of elections, so if too many people vote for the far right because of immigrants from the "wrong" EU countries, that isn't just their problem.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Sep 24th, 2014 at 03:16:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It remains just their problem for as long as there isn't elected a xenophobic government in Sweden that withdraws from Schengen on the basis of too many cooties. Before that happens, I won't bother.
by Bjinse on Wed Sep 24th, 2014 at 05:14:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A cootie-averse government can do a lot of stuff to make life miserable for people who are in the habit of walking down the street while wearing a suspicious skin color, and still fall some way short of withdrawing from Schengen.

I'd say that's our problem as well.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Sep 24th, 2014 at 06:38:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
According to Eurostat, during the first half of 2014, Sweden, with 2% of the population of the EU, received 22% of the total number of asylum immigrants in the EU.

That's more than Germany did. And it is also more than Britain, France, Spain, Finland, Denmark and Norway do, combined.

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

by Starvid on Tue Sep 23rd, 2014 at 11:12:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think it is about immigration. Finland, Denmark adn Norway has more succesfull ugly parties with much less immigration.

Of course we could have had an anti-immigration party in parliament much longer, had not New Democracy imploded in 1991-4. The Moderates and the Soc-dem drew the lesson from then to decrease immigration and stop discussing the issue. The harsher rules for immigrants fed a pro-immigration opinion on the left and the liberal centre while the lack of discussion fed an anti-immigration opinion on the far right (with problems for the Moderates that span from conservative right to neoliberals). So on one hand we have a rascist party with 13% of the seats, on the other they are really disliked.

But immigration is not the reason for the rise of the far right. The foundation is instead economical. With the abolishment of full employment white, straight men with low economic, cultural and educational position has seen their relative status sink against just everybody else. That feeds anger and resentment. The communist answer would be to direct that anger against the upper class and the bosses. The fascist answer is to direct that anger against swarthy people, gays and feminists.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Sep 23rd, 2014 at 03:14:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is one of narratives we see in the Swedish media, and from the political left: the rise of the Sweden Democrats is due to increasing economic inequality, hopelessness, and so on, and everything will become better if we just raise taxes and pour money into welfare.

I don't believe this narrative at all. TL;DR - it's the immigration, stupid.

Immigration has never been popular in Sweden, but it has not become an important issue for voters until the Reinfeldt government came to power, due to the simple reason of volumes. Immigration doubled under Reinfeldt, and he promised/warned it would increase by another 50% in the next four years.

10 years ago, immigration was say the top 8 or top 10 issue for voters. Now it's the top 3 or top 4 issue. People have the same view of immigration now as they had back then (mainly negative*), and the only thing which has changed is the volumes. To me, this explains the entirety of the recent election result.

* According to the very big and anonymous SOM (2012) poll made by the university of Gothenburg, these were the views on immigration in Sweden.

"Recieve fewer refugees in Sweden"

Good idea: 45%
Bad idea: 29%
Neither: 26%

"Recieve more refugees in Sweden"
Good idea: 18%
Bad idea: 50%
Neither: 31%

If you look at the views of the Moderate voters, you get this result.

"Recieve fewer refugees in Sweden" (Moderates)

Good idea: 53%
Bad idea: 21%

"Recieve more refugees in Sweden" (Moderates)
Good idea: 12%
Bad idea: 57%

This also explains why the Moderates had a huge loss of voters (4 percentage points) straight into the Sweden democrats. This is equal to more than half of the total election gains of the Sweden Democrats.

It also doesn't hurt that the Moderates have run an atrocious defence policy (Moderate core voters are defence friendly), while the SD has a very strong pro-defence stance.

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

by Starvid on Wed Sep 24th, 2014 at 12:20:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Immigration is up, resistance towards immigration in general is down. "Receive fewer immigrants" has steadily fallen with a top year in 1992 when 65% answer yes to that.

Importance of the issue is up, but in my experience that is much more a question of what is discussed on TV, then on what happens. Surveillance was an important issue in 2009, and then the Moderates and the Soc-dems decided not to debate that anymore. The rise of the Sweden Democrats has forced the Moderates and the Soc-dems to discuss migration, and that discussion benefits the Sweden Democrats, because the problems they blame on immigration are not solved within the high-unemployment policy setting. Reinfeldt in august even blamed immigration for lack of financial elbow room to do much more of anything, which was an excellent set up for the Sweden Democrats.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Sep 25th, 2014 at 08:39:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The 65% number is really a bump, due to the very large volumes during to the Yugoslav wars. If you go back to the 80's you'll see that it trends in the 40-50% range ever since.

I don't think the media is very important either. Due to the refusal of the media and the political parties to discuss the issue, the discussion has moved online, to more or less rightwing extremist/populist websites.

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

by Starvid on Thu Sep 25th, 2014 at 09:07:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even the left-liberal New York Times is now reporting on the very queer situation in Sweden regarding these issues.

In Sweden, a closely patrolled pro-immigration "consensus" has sustained extraordinarily liberal policies while placing a virtual taboo on questions about the social and economic costs. In Norway, a strong tradition of free speech and efficient administration has produced a hard-nosed approach about which refugees, and how many, to take in.

The Norwegian Foreign Ministry has calculated that because of all the social, health, housing and welfare benefits mandated by the state, supporting a single refugee in Norway costs $125,000 -- enough to support some 26 Syrians in Jordan. And the Norwegian press has reported that following an alleged terrorist threat from abroad in July, Norway's immigration authorities deported asylum seekers who raised security concerns.

Unlike the far-right Sweden Democrats, which have been shunned by other Swedish parties, Norway's own anti-immigration party, the populist Progress Party, has entered a coalition government and makes its concerns heard. Solveig Horne, the minister of children, equality and social inclusion, and a member of the Progress Party, complains that Norway already has more asylum seekers than it can accommodate. "More and more are allowed to stay in Norway," she told me in Oslo last month. "But many communities are saying, `Wait. We have to be sure we can integrate the people we already have.' "

This is just the kind of blunt talk that is strictly avoided in Sweden. Take the comments of the incumbent prime minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, a few weeks before last Sunday's election. He asked voters to "open their hearts" to Syrian refugees, even though the escalating cost of supporting them would preclude further welfare benefits for Swedes. The comment caused an outcry -- not because it seemed to favor refugees over Swedes, but simply for suggesting that refugee policy needed to be considered on economic grounds.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Sep 25th, 2014 at 11:23:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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