• Sweden's news in English
 
Stefan Löfven: One year on
'We had to make the party look fit to govern'

'We had to make the party look fit to govern'

Published: 25 Jan 2013 12:30 GMT+01:00

When Löfven took over as leader on January 27th last year from Håkan Juholt, there was chaos and despair within the party.

Sweden's main opposition party had long held more than 40 percent of Swedish voters’ support, but during Juholt’s tenure, voter support tumbled to record lows – only about one in four Swedes said they supported the party.

In the melee, internal divisions between leftist and centrists factions of the party were laid bare to the public.

One year on, many of the party’s MPs say there is a renewed sense of optimism within the party.

“One thing we had to do was to make sure the party looked fit to govern, without which we wouldn’t have people voting for us,” Löfven told the TT news agency.

Löfven, the former head of the powerful IF Metall metal workers union, has not brought with him any radical changes to the party platform.

He has, however, focused on employment, education and business. Questions regarding social security, sick leave, and redistribution policies have not been discussed in much detail.

"Already in my first speech I said that jobs would be my focus," he said.

A few new proposals have been made public, such as an education contract for teenagers and young adults who have not finished high school.

His party has also home in on the debate on education and innovation.

When the party presented its shadow budget last year, Löfven dubbed it "a business plan" for Sweden, which drew some left-wing criticism for having adapted to middle-class rhetoric.

Löfven retorted that the party had always attempted to speak to as many voter groups as possible in order to find common ground in tackling societal issues.

Once Löfven took over from Juholt, whose brief leadership was overshadowed by concerns that he was incorrectly receiving second-home compensation for not only himself but his partner, opinions poll started to show renewed trust in the party.

Yet the upswing hit a plateau and now hovers around the 33 to 34-percent mark.

To put the figure in perspective, it is only a few percentage points higher than the result achieved by the party in what the Social Democrats call the "catastrophic" 2010 elections.

With Löfven at its helm, the party now hopes a political offensive during his second year will bump up poll numbers and help the party return to power in the 2014 elections.

Political scientist Ulf Bjereled, however, said there is a risk that the Social Democrats will get used to their historically low voter confidence and become "a party like any other," despite ruling Sweden for a huge swathe of the post-World War II era.

"They need to have more concrete reform proposal to show there is a distinct option to the current government,” Bjereld told TT.

Bjereled added that the main challenge is to find a way to attract the support of young urban voters who work in creative industries, while at the same time keeping the traditional values of the workers party, which despite loosening its ties with the union movement still sympathizes with many of its goals.

TT/The Local/at

Follow The Local on Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

14:59 January 25, 2013 by johan rebel
I would second a demand that he rather make the party a spent force in Swedish politics, preferably forever.
09:18 January 26, 2013 by rufus.t.firefly
A little housekeeping to restore some integrity: make unequivocal denouncement of Malmo Mayor Ripalu's Jew-baiting to restore a modicum of integrity. If you have to appease hatred to get votes, you are degrading your party and the democratic process.
Today's headlines
Swedish parties in secret election talks: report
Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson. Photo: TT

Swedish parties in secret election talks: report

The government and opposition parties are reported to be conducting negotiations in a bid to avoid government chaos, putting the new March election in doubt, according to a media report. READ  

Thailand's tsunami: Ten years on
The wave Sweden will never forget
Tsunami "Wall of Remembrance" in Mai Khao in northern Phuket. Photo: TT

The wave Sweden will never forget

The Local looks at how Swedes are remembering the tidal wave that shook South-East Asia exactly ten years ago, leaving 543 Swedes dead. READ  

Swedish police warn of migrating elk herds
An elk, known as a moose in northern America, crosses the road. Photo: TT

Swedish police warn of migrating elk herds

Police in northern Sweden have urged holiday motorists to be careful after reports of unusually large herds of migrating elk. READ  

Sweden's wild carnivore population on the rise
A family of lynx. Photo: Shutterstock.

Sweden's wild carnivore population on the rise

An extensive European study has found that the numbers of carnivorous animals are on the rise across the continent, with Sweden seeing a hike in the populations of bears, lynxes, wolves, and wolverines. READ  

My Swedish Career
Meet the Italian sketching a new Swedish future
Filippo Vanzo. Photo: Private

Meet the Italian sketching a new Swedish future

For this week's My Swedish Career, The Local chats to Filippo Vanzo, a freelance illustrator who started to picture life in Stockholm after meeting his Swedish girlfriend online. READ  

Icy roads as Swedes head home for Christmas
Photo: TT

Icy roads as Swedes head home for Christmas

The Swedish weather agency has issued a warning for icy roads across the country as many city-dwellers head out to the countryside for Christmas. READ  

Bomb blasts rock Malmö's Rosengård
Photo: TT

Bomb blasts rock Malmö's Rosengård

Police suspect that a rental dispute is behind a twin explosion which rocked the area around Ramels Väg in the Rosengård area of Malmö over the weekend. READ  

Romanian beggar lands bumper lottery win
Photo: TT

Romanian beggar lands bumper lottery win

A Romanian man who slept under a bridge in a Swedish city and lived by begging recently landed a 210,000 kronor ($27,000) lottery win after buying a ticket on impulse, saying he now wants to build himself a house. READ  

Agency: Dream in vain of a white Christmas
There is little chance of snow in Stockholm this Christmas. File photo: TT

Agency: Dream in vain of a white Christmas

Sweden's weather agency SMHI has warned those living in southern parts of the country to stop dreaming of a white Christmas or risk disappointment. READ  

Shots fired at Stockholm migrant camp: report
File photo: TT

Shots fired at Stockholm migrant camp: report

Stockholm police have launched an investigation after reports that shots were fired at an EU migrant camp in the south of the city on Saturday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Video: The best & worst of Swedish Christmas
National
Second baby on the way for Princess Madeleine
Gallery
People-watching: December 20th - 21st
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: December 18th to 25th
National
'Unprecedented' Russian activity: Armed Forces
Blog updates

22 December

A Tale of Three Cities (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Today I am pleased to welcome a guest blogger on my blog, Sir David King, The..." READ »

 

19 December

-t or no -t? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! There are many things in the Swedish language that can give you a grey hair or two,..." READ »

 
 
 
Society
Interview: The Local chats with Melinda Gates
Society
VIDEO: Stockholmers try out some Swedish tongue twisters
Society
Eight things to do when it gets dark in Umeå
National
Inside Sweden's first 'light therapy' school
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: December 17th
Estelle through the years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Society
Why are there so many 100-year-olds in one Swedish town?
Society
Is it time to better celebrate Sweden's diverse identity?
Gallery
Property of the week: Huddinge
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
National
CATCH UP: Russian plane in Baltic near-miss drama
Lifestyle
How my compass drew me to Sweden
National
The man whose memory you need to remember
Gallery
People-watching: December 13th - 14th
Sponsored Article
How to get your own office anywhere in the world
Politics
'Our party will stand alone': Stefan Löfven
Society
The Local chats to Ruben Östlund, director of Golden Globe nominated Force Majeure
Lifestyle
Ten things to know before a Swedish party
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: December 12th to 19th
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The 2014 Nobel Banquet
National
The Local's guide to the Nobel Prizes 2014
Education
Introducing... Education in Stockholm
Society
The Swedish Christmas market with a twist
Lifestyle
Why do so many Swedes have tattoos?
Society
Get 20% off Swedish Christmas decorations
National
Dewani family: We only heard half the story
Business & Money
Business in Stockholm: 'efficiency is money'
Gallery
Property of the week: Östermalm
National
Meet the Swedes hosting festive feasts for 'lonely' guests
Gallery
TIMELINE: Swedish honeymoon killing murder trial
Gallery
People-watching: December 7th
Gallery
IN PICTURES: What's it like to fly planes in Sweden?
National
Submarine hunters 'robbed' of reward cash
National
The Local's Countdown to Christmas
National
'Dangerous' USB charger recalled in Sweden
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's King and Queen wrap up France tour
National
Analysis: Should Snowden get asylum in Sweden?
National
Swedish schoolboy in female saint role row
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's political crisis unfolds
Sponsored Article
SIS: the thinking behind globalised learning
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Family life 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

818
jobs available
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:
psdmedia.se
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Counselling and Psychotherapy in English
Sometimes living in another culture can cause stress, confusion and feelings of sadness and loneliness. Talking to a professional psychotherapist/counsellor might help you. I am a UKCP Reg. psychotherapist. My practice is in Södermalm, Stockholm.
Contact me to discuss your options