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SWEDEN DECIDES
Election results could turn on 298 votes

Election results could turn on 298 votes

Published: 22 Sep 2010 09:20 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 Sep 2010 09:20 GMT+02:00

Fewer than 300 votes separate the centre-right Alliance from an outright majority in the Riksdag as electoral officials feverishly tally advance and overseas ballots.

Sweden’s precarious parliamentary predicament could swing to certainly on a mere 42 votes in Dalarna, 92 in Värmland, and 164 in Gothenburg, according to several media reports.

In each of those three districts, Social Democrats were awarded the final permanent Riksdag seat with the smallest of margins.

But as advance ballots, including postal votes sent in from overseas, are counted, it’s possible that the distribution could shift in favour of the Alliance.

In Dalarna, 42 votes could mean that the Left Party would take the final permanent seat away from the Social Democrats, and the adjustment seat currently held by the Left Party’s Lena Olsson would end up going to either the Centre Party, the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet), or the Christian Democrats.

The net results would be a gain of one seat for the Alliance.

“It feels damn depressing that my result can be to the advantage of the Alliance. Their policies go against everything I stand for,” Olsson told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

In Värmland, the Social Democrats managed to snag the final permanent seat from the Liberals by a mere 92 votes. Should the final count result in the Liberals’ Nina Larsson overtaking Gunnilla Svantorp of the Social Democrats, Larsson would be awarded the permanent seat, and the adjustment seat she currently holds would likely end up going to a candidate from one of the three smaller Alliance parties.

The Social Democrats also hold a permanent seat in Gothenburg by a 164 vote-advantage over the Liberal Party. If the final tally of advance ballots falls in favour of the Liberals, the party could end up taking one more permanent seat from the Social Democrats, and ultimately give the Alliance the 175 seats it needs to secure a majority in the Riksdag.

According to the Swedish Election Authority (Valmyndigheten), the counting of the estimated 110,000 foreign and delayed advance ballots won’t be completed before Wednesday night and at the latest on Thursday morning.

“Those who are interested in following developments can check out our homepage,” spokesperson Vivan Nilsson told the TT news agency.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:39 September 22, 2010 by rob582
Conspiracy theorists will have a field day with this......
09:58 September 22, 2010 by Ben5
You have to get an absolute majority, don't go for a collation government if you don't want to take the country to a period of rescission and consensus-based politics.

If not go for a reelection....MPOV
10:09 September 22, 2010 by Argentox
rob582

You are right. This more than suspicious!
10:10 September 22, 2010 by miss79
another re election i hope
10:48 September 22, 2010 by farnoxo
Their policies go against everything I stand for," Olsson told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

Yup, that's right Ms. Olsson and thank god for that. Socialism has clearly failed as an ecomomic system and it is encouraging that the majority of Swedes realise this.
11:06 September 22, 2010 by LuxVeritas
Many parties, divided and conquered nation. Fact not fiction: Chemtrails over Södertälje. This morning as on other occasions; long white plumes from spraying aircraft hung for hours and expanded to form milky white carpets. For those who will mock, disbelieve or are paid to ridicule to side step the issue: Contrail comes from condensation, does not occur all the time from jet turbine engines, they dissipate within approx. ten minutes, chemtrails are altogether different. This is now a fairly common phenomenon in many places. It is now clear that these poisonous chemicals not only damage plant life, air breathing animals, but in large quantities supress immune systems. No news STORIES or tv PROGRAMMING that discusses this makes the fact all the more curious. Using Trividium style deductive reasoning, definitely not taught at school, forces certain questions to arise: Who supplies the chemicals? Who provides the flights? What possible purposes? People with shorter life expectancies reduces pension pay outs, sicker people use up more drug and pharmaceutical industry products, whopping amounts of cash and tax fly about, but who is trully paying the cost and profiting. Finally why does no government, politician royal family or so called NGO show an interest in the fact that people are being poisoned for profit and control? Even if you are completely brain washed you can begin to reason for yourself again. NO HUMAN RIGHTS FOR CORPORATIONS, NO RIGHTS FOR PRIVATE ELITE OWNED CENTRAL BANKS AND UNSOUND BANKSTERS OR BANKING. SOVEREIGN CURRENCY UNDER LAW, HUMAN RIGHTS UNALIENABLE, JUSTICE ABOVE FRAUDULENT IMMORAL UNETHICAL LAWS, HONEST TAX, LAND TAX FOR SUPER RICH MASSIVE PROPERTY HOLDERS, LEGALISATION OF INDUSTRIAL GRADE HEMP, GOVERNMENT AND LEGISLATIVE ACCOUNTABILITY, JUST INDEPENDENT STATE AUDIT. We the people produce; they the elite produce nothing, give nothing, control everything and feed of our sweet and misery. Lies deceit, poisoning and control using every insidiously created tool by Frankenstein minded sociopaths. Stop occulting the real discoveries that benefit humanity and the earth, stop deceiving about the climate for a new tax, stop deceiving about the overpopulation deception by naturist party people that have their roots in population control the Nazi naturist movement which British and northern European elitists created. Time to wake up, numerous parties, numerous divisions, all conquered on left and right sides of a false coin in the pocket of controlling groups. Before using words to criticise, cross reference their true meanings for an eye opener. No one can teach us to learn, we have to want to, but they can most definitely program and brainwash us. Read about the Fabian Society and the organisations that Carnagie, Rockefeller, Rothschild, Sorros and the insane alike are involved in. A government never serves a people it does not fear.
11:07 September 22, 2010 by NickM
@farnoxo Socialism is alive and well I think you'll find - socialism for the rich i.e. bank bailouts, corporate welfare etc.

Can anyone explain this bit please as I don't understand. What's an "adjustment seat"?

"In Dalarna, 42 votes could mean that the Left Party would take the final permanent seat away from the Social Democrats, and the adjustment seat currently held by the Left Party's Lena Olsson would end up going to either the Centre Party, the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet), or the Christian Democrats."
12:52 September 22, 2010 by SBerne
Hi,

The Adjusted seats are a part of the Proportional Representation electoral system. They are supposed to ensure that where there is small but widespread support across constituencies, or where it falls below thresholds for the next seat, but is still significant, that the party gets fair representation in the Riksdag anyhow. So these seats sort of "float" above the constituency system and are awarded to the parties to best approximate proportional representation based on the national vote.

This is the extract of the law that governs it (from here: http://www.riksdagen.se/templates/R_PageExtended____6320.aspx)

Art. 6. The Realm is divided up into constituencies for the purpose of elections for the Riksdag.

The Riksdag comprises three hundred and ten fixed constituency seats and thirty-nine adjustment seats.

The fixed constituency seats are distributed among the constituencies on the basis of a calculation of the relationship between the number of persons entitled to vote in each constituency, and the total number of persons entitled to vote throughout the whole of the Realm. The distribution of seats among the constituencies is determined for four years at a time.

Art. 7. The seats are distributed among parties. Party is understood to mean any association or group of voters which runs for election under a particular designation.

Only a party which receives at least four per cent of the votes cast throughout the whole of the Realm is entitled to share in the distribution of seats. A party receiving fewer votes however participates in the distribution of the fixed constituency seats in any constituency in which it receives at least twelve per cent of the votes cast.

Art. 8. The fixed constituency seats in each constituency are distributed proportionately among the parties on the basis of the election result in that constituency.

The adjustment seats are distributed among the parties in such a way that the distribution of all the seats in the Riksdag, other than those fixed constituency seats which have been allocated to a party polling less than four per cent of the national vote, is in proportion to the total number of votes cast throughout the whole of the Realm for the respective parties participating in the distribution of seats. If, in the distribution of the fixed constituency seats, a party obtains seats which exceed the number corresponding to the proportional representation of that party in the Riksdag, then that party and the fixed constituency seats which it has obtained are disregarded in distributing the adjustment seats. The adjustment seats are allocated to constituencies after they have been distributed among the parties.

The odd-number method is used to distribute the seats among the parties, with the first divisor adjusted to 1.4.

Hope this helps

S.
14:38 September 22, 2010 by Beavis
If its that few why dont they ask one of the smaller parties to join (bar the crazy feminests!)
14:49 September 22, 2010 by SBerne
The really small parties, including the Feminists haven't achieved over 4% and so don't have seats in the Riksdag.
15:53 September 22, 2010 by Tiddler
This is a repost as somebody obviously didn't like it and censored it, I cannot see why this should be so "in the land of the free".

As Stalin commented, "it's not those who vote that count, it's those that count the votes".
16:42 September 22, 2010 by NickM
@Sberne, It sounds like a real bullshit complex system open to manipulation and deceit. The winner should be the party with the most votes like in every other democracy. Thanks for the explanation though.
17:05 September 22, 2010 by SBerne
Actually there are very few, if there are any, democracies that have a straightforward most votes = winner systems.

Japan and Germany have mixed member systems -- Winner takes All, mixed with Proportional Representation

UK and the US have Winner takes All -- but that often doesn't mean that the winner has greater than 50% of the vote (in the US due to the Electoral College system, in the UK because it's increasingly a multiparty system).

France votes in rounds so that eventually someone has an outright majority, but it's a forced choice because anyone coming lower than 2nd in the earlier rounds is excluded.

They are all very complicated, all flawed and all preferable to each other in some respects. Much like everything else :)
22:21 September 22, 2010 by NickM
@SBerne, Thanks for explanation but in the UK, you win a seat if you get the most votes - simple as that. You might not win the whole election, but you win the seat. None of this "adjusted seat" madness. I think it's all a bit dodgy what's going on, especially when they're counting in Gothenburg for the THIRD time because they say the difference is just FOUR votes.
22:42 September 22, 2010 by SBerne
The margin of the votes is the same issue, whatever system you are counting them under. The UK has some pretty tight margins too. The adjusted seat system is supposed to guard against the possibility of a party (the Lib Dems in the UK for instance - prior to the last election) continuously getting a reasonable share of the vote, but never the most, and so never getting any representation at all. It is supposed to guard against so-called "wasted votes" and the "third party effect". It's only one way of achieving it, but I do think it's more reasonable than just allocating all the power to whoever gets the most, even if the most is a very, very long way short of a majority let alone a consensus.

Sweden also has the system of most votes = seats in constituencies. Just in Sweden there is more than one seat per constituency and the seats are allocated proportionally, according the party lists, respective to the vote. Seems fairer to me, and allows representation of a greater range of opinions. Doesn't give you "strong government" certainly, politicians have to co-operate far more and coalition governments become the norm, but I personally am okay with that.

(I'm a Brit by the way - this is not by way of UK bashing :)
09:12 September 23, 2010 by NickM
@SBerne, You certainly understand both systems better than me. However, it seems that despite having it confirmed that they've lost Gothenburg and Varmland by very narrow margins (19 and 7 votes respectively) the Government may just resort to going to court to overturn the results. Explain to me how that will work! Are they going to try and argue that after 3 recounts, the people counting the votes have made a mistake!
10:01 September 23, 2010 by SBerne
Hi,

Uhm. Yes is probably the best answer here :)

I think technically what they appeal on are so called "systematic errors" in the counting, so not that they just can't add one vote to another but that somehow some votes have misunderstood or some such. Do you remember the Florida debacle in the second Bush election? They couldn't figure out (or claimed not be able to figure out depending on who you sided with) whether a vote had actually been cast, or who it had been cast for because the machines didn't punch the holes properly (hanging chads I think they were called). It's this sort of "error" that they will be looking for and trying to construct an appeal around. Oftentimes it's something out of nothing, but the mechanism exists (and has to exist for Freedom House to ratify a country as democratic) so that deliberate manipulation of the voting mechanism or counting can't go on unchecked.

I don't know what grounds they might come up with here. I know there have been suggestions that people who voted SD may have made ambiguous votes if they wrote SD on a blank vote as it wouldn't be possible to tell if the vote was intended for Social Democrats or Sweden Democrats. It may well be clutching at straws, and even if they did find such ballots I have no idea what they'd do with them (discard, randomly assign, assign proportionally, re-vote), but with the numbers being so very very small it could be conceivable as an argument.

The appeal documents to the authority will be public so I guess we will find out if they do go ahead.
14:00 September 23, 2010 by hutom
One coalition having a majority is better than a minority government. And the rulling Alliance is the most close to it.

http://hutom.blogspot.com/
17:57 September 23, 2010 by NickM
@hutom, I prefer some level of democracy in parliament to parliamentary dictatorship but each to their own.

@SBerne, Thanks. It sounds like what the Alliance are implying is that the vote counters can't do their job properly and know what is a spoiled vote and what is a valid vote and the difference between SD and S on a piece of paper etc. I think it's a bit patronizing. Besides, I think if a vote is that close anyway, no one should have a majority and the Alliance should at least respect that the country is deeply divided. The country is effectively saying that they have no idea which one they want to rule outright (understandable when their policies are virtually identical) and so they should slog it out in parliament over policies. It's called democracy - the Alliance should try it.
23:49 September 23, 2010 by SBerne
I guess that is probably what will happen. They won't be able to force through any particularly contentious legislation on such a slim majority anyway, even if they were to win one, so they will have to nickle and dime their way through the issues that need legislating until they come to some sort of consensual convention. Probably right before the next election :)
12:22 September 26, 2010 by NickM
@SBerne, Exactly. By which time the Social Democrats and Alliance will be so similar, they might as well just merge into one big corporate party.

By the way, does anyone know how to update your profile details on The Local? All I can find when I click on "Update profile" is to unsubscribe from mailing lists or change passwords.
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