• Sweden edition
Economy and the Left dominate party debate

Economy and the Left dominate party debate

Published: 13 Oct 2008 09:57 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Oct 2008 09:57 GMT+02:00

The financial crisis and economic issues dominated the debate between the four centre-right Alliance party leaders and Mona Sahlin of the Social Democrats, Maria Wetterstrand of the Green Party, and Left Party leader Lars Ohly.

With two years left until Sweden’s next parliamentary election, the debate was the first of several planned debates and media appearances scheduled for the week ahead.

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt entered Sunday's debate with strong poll numbers showing that 47 percent of voters had high confidence in his government’s management of the international financial crisis.

At the same time, 72 percent of respondents to the Synovate poll thought the government should cooperate across party lines in order to counteract financial concerns.

So far, the government hasn't indicated any plans for reaching out to the Social Democrats to help tackle the financial crisis.

Sahlin came off a tough week which included a humbling about-face after an announcement to exclude the Left Party from future discussions.

The announcement was met with a chorus of criticism both from within and outside of the party, and Sahlin wasn’t able to dodge the issue on Sunday night.

Ohly called last week’s episode irresponsible, but added that he hoped for continued cooperation with the other two opposition parties.

“I fully understand that the Social Democrats and the Green Party need to discuss their policies. But I’m here as a responsible opposition party,” said Ohly.

And Green Party spokesperson Maria Wetterstrand’s refusal to directly answer whether her party was interested in governing with the Left Party prompted a pointed response from the Prime Minister.

“Whoever understood something can call a friend,” he said.

Nevertheless, Sahlin did her best to assure the governing parties and the viewing public that there will be a credible alternative to the Alliance at the next election.

“I’m trying to create a strong coalition government to replace these four [parties]. We and the Green Party have already begun cooperating and continue to talk with the Left Party,” she said.

And when it came to the issue of unemployment, the three opposition parties did their best to present a united front.

“I agree with Lars Ohly,” said Sahlin as part of an effort by the three opposition parties to argue that the government had added to people’s worries about the struggling economy through raising unemployment insurance fund premiums and lowering payouts.

The Alliance party leaders responded by arguing that the opposition’s plans to raise taxes on companies and wage earners would lead to the loss of thousands of jobs.

They then tried to steer the conversation away from a defence of past reforms and instead draw attention to the Alliance’s job creation efforts.

“We’ve changed what we had before to a policy which makes it profitable to work. That applies both in good and in bad times,” said Reinfeldt.

Centre-party leader Maud Olofsson added that the opposition’s focus on unemployment insurance was misleading.

“You’re tricking the voters into believing that a-kassa is the only security,” she said.

There were also differences in approach to dealing with the wave of downsizings which has swept across Sweden in recent weeks.

While Sahlin advocated for targeted support to those who have recently lost their jobs, such as job retraining and increased employment insurance, Olofsson stressed the importance of changing Sweden’s business climate to create more jobs.

“But what help is it to those losing their jobs at Volvo that those who remain end up with lower taxes,” countered Sahlin.

While agreeing that the current economic situation was serious, the Alliance parties maintained that it wasn’t enough to justify raising unemployment insurance payments.

“We’re going to use our resources to that people can work,” said Christian Democratic leader Göran Hägglund.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Race to be scrapped from Swedish legislation
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag meets children in Husby, Stockholm. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Race to be scrapped from Swedish legislation

The Swedish government announced that it plans to remove all mentions of race from Swedish legislation, saying that race is a social construct which should not be encouraged in law. READ  

US aircraft 'violates' Swedish airspace

US aircraft 'violates' Swedish airspace

A mystery airplane that passed over Swedish airspace recently has been revealed as an American aircraft, sources revealed on Thursday. READ  

Elite schools stripped of 'special' privileges

Elite schools stripped of 'special' privileges

Sweden's three elite boarding schools can no longer charge tuition fees, the government announced on Thursday, in a string of changes following a two-year review. READ  

Bildt lays out four steps to Gaza peace
Photos: TT

Bildt lays out four steps to Gaza peace

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt stated that there are four steps to achieving peace in Gaza, and that it begins with removing the blockade - which has "played into Hamas' hands". READ  

Malmström snags EU commissioner post again

Malmström snags EU commissioner post again

Cecilia Malmström has been nominated to be the European Commissioner for another five years, Sweden's prime minister announced on Thursday. READ  

Stockholm Pride 2014
In Pictures: Stockholm's Historic Pride Party
Conchita Wurst belts out a ballad. Photo: Rebecca Jacobs

In Pictures: Stockholm's Historic Pride Party

With Stockholm's Pride Week in full swing, The Local's Rebecca Jacobs heads on down to the traditional Historic Party to take in the colours, Conchita, and the community. READ  

Two to hospital after Stockholm fire

Two to hospital after Stockholm fire

Two people were taken to hospital in the early hours of Thursday morning after a fire began in their central Stockholm apartment. READ  

Salmonella prompts Coop hamburger recall
Photo: Jim Cole/TT

Salmonella prompts Coop hamburger recall

Swedish supermarket chain Coop has recalled its in-store brand of fresh hamburger meat after a routine check revealed traces of salmonella in the meat. READ  

What's On in Sweden
Photo: Roger Vikström/TT

What's On in Sweden

It's Pride Week in Stockholm. Find out more about the celebrations (including the biggest Pride Parade in Scandinavia) as well as plenty of other activities in Sweden's three biggest cities. READ  

Sweden resumes aid to 'anti-gay Uganda'
Hillevi Engström and protesters against Uganda's anti-gay laws. Photos: Maja Suslin/Ben Curtis/TT

Sweden resumes aid to 'anti-gay Uganda'

Sweden has resumed sending development aid funds to Uganda, after suspending payouts back in March due to "anti-gay legislation". READ  

Stockholm Pride bars Sweden Democrats
Gender neutral pronoun 'hen' enters dictionary
Top ten cafes in Stockholm
People-watching - Stockholm Pride
Photo: Henrik Trygg/Imagebank Sweden
Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs
Blog updates

31 July

Calling a speedo a speedo (Blogweiser) »

"There are a lot of speedos on Europe’s beaches. Some European males are evidently more comfortable sporting small, stretchy suits on public beaches than I would be. I accept it may be nice to have swimwear that’s not long and cumbersome. A speedo is maybe also good for tanning. But strolling around town in a..." READ »


27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »

Stockholm Pride kicks off
The top six ways the US and Sweden differ
Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high
Politician reported for selling 'negro ball'
Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'
Stockholm Pride: Allsång på Skansen with Conchita Wurst
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Top ten Swedish taboos
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
What's On in Sweden
People-watching July 23
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
People-watching Båstad
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at: