• Sweden edition
Sweden braces for rollercoaster election

Sweden braces for rollercoaster election

Published: 19 Sep 2010 03:10 GMT+02:00
Updated: 19 Sep 2010 12:12 GMT+02:00

Sweden's centre-right government is being tipped to stay in power when voters go to the polls on Sunday, though the opposition has made late gains ahead of an election that could also see the political landscape reshaped by the far-right Sweden Democrats.

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, 45, is vying to see his four-party coalition become the first rightwing government to win a second term in nearly a century.

That would spell a decisive break with the hold on power of the Social Democrats, who have dominated Swedish politics for 80 years and considered the caretakers of the country's famous cradle-to-grave welfare state.

In the overcast heavily immigrant Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby, voters were trickling in to the main polling station shortly after opening at 8am.

The election "is good, it's exciting," said 47-year-old Nina Dakwar as she went in to cast her vote for the Christian Democrats -- part of the governing alliance -- for whom she had been campaigning.

"I think the alliance will win ... They are the best for Sweden," she told AFP.

Dakwar was not worried about the far-right Sweden Democrats party's rise.

"There is a risk (they'll get in to parliament), but we hope they don't," said Dakwar.

"They are not such a big party. I don't think they'll have so much influence," she said.

Three separate polls published a day before the vote showed the gap between Reinfeldt's coalition and the left-wing opposition was shrinking, but still handed the government a lead of between four and nine percentage points.

Social Democrat leader Mona Sahlin, 53, who heads up the three-party leftwing coalition, however insisted Saturday she had not given up hope of becoming Sweden's first woman prime minister.

There is still a chance "we can achieve a 'red-green' government," she said.

Sahlin's supporters remained upbeat.

"I'm optimistic. I think anything can happen," Ayaan Mohammed, a 29-year-old of Somali origin, told AFP as she voted in Rinkeby.

"I like their strategy and their system a lot better. I'm voting for Mona Sahlin," she said.

Towards the end of a campaign focused largely on the economy and the future of the welfare state, both Sahlin and Reinfeldt have meanwhile stressed the importance of achieving a majority government to offset the sway of the far-right Sweden Democrats, who are expected to make it into parliament for the first time.

"Don't expose Sweden to this experiment (of allowing the Sweden Democrats into parliament). Make sure they don't get any power," Reinfeldt said on Saturday, urging Swedes to vote in "a stable majority government."

Even with a handful of seats, the far-right party could play kingmaker in a tightly split parliament with minority rule and, analysts caution, could even make it so difficult to govern that new elections would need to be called.

The three latest surveys handed the current government between 49.2 and 51.2 percent of voter intentions, which even in the worst case is enough votes to secure a clear parliamentary majority with 175 of the 349 seats.

Saturday's surveys meanwhile indicated the Sweden Democrats, who won just 2.9 percent of the vote in the 2006 elections, would garner between 3.8 and 5.9 percent of votes, while the party itself has said it expects to win as much as eight percent.

Polling stations opened at 8am and will close 12 hours later, with 7.1 million Swedish citizens eligible to vote, including a record number of first-time voters.

Turnout in Sweden is traditionally high and stood at nearly 82 percent in the last elections.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

17:39 September 19, 2010 by Ann BW
Moderaterna kom till makten efter förespeglingen att de fjämjade arbete åt alla och skattesänkningar. Vad de inte talade om var att dessa skattesänkningar åt de som tjänade mest i landet kom från sjukförsäkringssystemet. Detta system gick med 70 miljarder i vinst. Flera hundratusen sjuka i Sverige fick därmed lämna sjukförsäkringen och klara sig bäst de kan för att dessa pengar skulle användas till skattesänkningar istället. Bara de som arbetade skulle få ta del av samhället.

Om allt detta sa statsministern Fredrick Reinfeldt ingenting före valet utan det kom som en chock för alla sjuka, efter valet. Nu tvingades cansersjuka gå till arbetsförmedlingen och söka arbete, vilket de naturligtvis inte kunde få, utan fick söka hjälp hos socialförvaltningen, om de hade tur. Många har därmed blivit av med sina bostäder då de inte har kunnat betala hyran. Ni vet säkert att i Sverige kan vi ha 40grader kallt under vintern. Många sjuka har därmed valt att ta sina liv istället för denna misär.

Moderaterna har fortsatt med sina lögner under hela den här perioden och ikväll får vi veta om det blir en ny solidarisk regering som tar hand om alla i landet eller om det blir en högerregering igen med sin grundinställning: Sköt dig själv och skit i andra.
18:02 September 19, 2010 by Iraniboy
Dear Ann

Actually most of readers of this website who are usually from US/UK/EU are supporters of Sverigedemocraterna and very few are supporters of Moderaterna. I assume the there is so supporter of the left block!! So your stance (which is popular in Sweden) is not popular here!!! Here most readers are far rights and XYXphobes!!!
22:09 September 19, 2010 by RobinHood

Rarely has anyone ever posted anything as silly as you. Posters here at TL are a cross section of society ranging from fascist to communist, and Al Qaida to Zionist, and every shade in between.
13:03 September 20, 2010 by joe90
all i say is listen too the people (who voted)ha ha ha

if Reinfeldts group he wants to rule as a ``winning party´´ ask mona sahlin greens etc for 20 of their politicians from their group to abstain from the votes. it would be a level playing field leaving the rights out in the cold no longer a king maker.

Today's headlines
Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden
Michael Boatwright (R) and Medieval knight re-enactors.

Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden

The "motel mystery" American who baffled US authorities by only speaking Swedish when he woke up from a coma last year has passed away, Swedish media reported on Wednesday. READ () »

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king

UPDATED: Scientists pried open the 850-year-old casket of King Erik the Holy on Wednesday, hoping to find out more about the king, his crown, and his eating habits. READ () »

TeliaSonera announces first-quarter profit drop
TeliaSonera CEO Johan Dennelind. File photo: TT

TeliaSonera announces first-quarter profit drop

Stockholm-listed telecom operator TeliaSonera on Wednesday said profits had fallen in the first quarter, but hoped offering customers more data solutions in the future would turn things around. READ () »

'Imperfect EU better than revolting nationalism'
Fredrik Reinfeldt. File photo: TT

'Imperfect EU better than revolting nationalism'

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Wednesday urged young voters to head to the European parliamentary polls on May 25th "to cure the European disease of nationalism". READ () »

Ericsson quarterly profit defies sluggish sales
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg at the first quarter press conference. Photo: TT

Ericsson quarterly profit defies sluggish sales

Swedish telecom giant Ericsson on Wednesday announced a drop in sales but posted a sharp rise in first-quarter profit, which nonetheless fell shy of analyst predictions. READ () »

Fatal Norrköping brawl
Four brothers held as cops fear brawl reprisals
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Four brothers held as cops fear brawl reprisals

Swedish police fear that several people involved in a brawl in eastern Sweden on Monday night may be seeking revenge after two brothers were shot dead. READ () »

Sponsored Article
Beautiful pearls of southeast Sweden
The town of Västervik.

Beautiful pearls of southeast Sweden

Ask a Swede, and they are likely to say that their favourite holiday spot is in the southeast of Sweden. Eastern Småland and Öland offer a smörgåsbord of all the things dearest to the Swedes - from the beloved children's book author Astrid Lindgren to deep forests, long sandy beaches, perfect spots for that all-important 'fika', and a surprising amount of space, peace and quiet. READ () »

Weekend weather to bring summer warmth
Swedes enjoy hot dogs and cherry blossoms in Stockholm's Kungsträdgården. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Weekend weather to bring summer warmth

The sun is set to stick around and temperatures could climb into the twenties over the weekend, Swedish meteorologists said on Wednesday READ () »

'Day-care rapist' admits molesting eight kids

'Day-care rapist' admits molesting eight kids

A 21-year-old man confessed on Wednesday to sex crimes against eight children at a day care where he was working as an intern. READ () »

Swedish cops nab man for having big muscles
An unrelated bodybuilder. File photo: Ann Törnkvist

Swedish cops nab man for having big muscles

Police in Sweden's south who hauled a muscular man in for steroid testing have had their knuckles rapped, after it was ruled that big biceps cannot be grounds for narcotics suspicions. READ () »

Sponsored: South-eastern Sweden offers Öland beaches and more
Swedish underwear shop puts staff in front of the camera
IN PICTURES: The Local's Property of the Week - Täby
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - India Unlimited
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - A film, food, and finance feast
University applications rocket to record high
People-watching April 18-20
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
People-watching April 16
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
Abba duo hints at reunion
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
People-watching April 11-13
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
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 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

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

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: