• Sweden's news in English
 

Is the PM overstaying his welcome?

Published: 15 Apr 2014 08:40 GMT+02:00

"You're committing a grievous error if you don't let other politicians into the limelight," lobbying expert Birger Östberg at PR firm Westander told The Local. "For example, Göran Persson was criticized for not giving space to Margot Wallström."
 
Social Democrat Persson, Reinfeldt's predecessor as prime minister, left a power vacuum behind him in his party after the 2006 elections which were won by the government coalition known as the Alliance. The new prime minister, in contrast to Persson's lone ranger attitude, has always had a very talented back-up dancer - Finance Minister Anders Borg.
 
"Reinfeldt and Borg are very strong vote magnets for the Alliance, and have been over the past two elections," Östberg said.
 
While the old adage "If it ain't broke don't fix it" may apply to all the political parties, Östberg cautioned that there was a risk of voter tedium if parties didn't shake things up a bit over time. He said that in general most leaders - also in the business world - overstayed their welcome.
 
"Just like you can tire of someone in any long relationship, you can tire of the party leaders," he said. "We're quite well acquainted with Fredrik Reinfeldt's style by now. Those sad eyes... can't he just be a bit happier?" 
 
The Moderate Party secretary Kent Persson, however, said he thought the Swedish electorate was more interested in policy than polishings.
 
"I believe people prioritize political content ahead of both the parties and their leaders," Persson told The Local via email. "In the 2006 elections, Reinfeldt represented new policies that the Swedish voters wanted." 
 
But do they still want them, and him? Södertörn University political scientist Nick Aylott said Reinfeldt's image is rock solid.
 
"He has cultivated a man of the people image and a statesman image, which is an unusual combination," he told The Local.
 
"The bigger risk is that the voters are tired not so much of Reinfeldt but of the government as a whole," Aylott said of what he called a "state of paralysis" which had set in because the government does not have its own parliamentary majority. 
 
And has Reinfeldt's popularity come at a price?
 
"Reinfeldt has been such a dominant leader that it's been difficult for anyone else to emerge as a rival," Aylott said.
 
Apart from the ministers, Aylott said one Moderate who flits in and out of the headlines is the head of the Parliamentary Committee on Financial Affairs, Anna Kinberg Batra. Although even Aylott had to pause before recalling her name, admitting that this was perhaps proof that she is still yet to become a household name. 
 
"She has plenty of things in her favour: Relatively young, yet experienced, and very well-anchored in the party. And, not least, a woman," Aylott said. 
 
"Having a woman would make it less easy for the Social Democrats to proclaim themselves as the party of gender equality," he said. 
 
Aylott also mentioned Defence Minister Karin Enström, but said being in charge of the cash-strapped military at the same time as Russia rumbles to the east could make her a tough sell. 
 
Plucking a crown prince or a crown princess may simply not be the Moderates' style. As a right-of-centre party, the onus is on the individual, rather than the left-wing's fascination with the collective. In other words, if you want to lead - then fight. The Moderate party secretary was keen to point out that there were career opportunities in politics, if one was ready to nurture them.
 
"Both within the party and in parliament there are good opportunities for civil servants and parliamentarians to develop on their own steam," Kent Persson explained.
 
Persson's press secretary Henrik Sjöström explained that about a third of the Moderate MPs leave parliament after each election, ushering in new faces and hopefuls. 
 
Reinfeldt was re-elected at a party meeting three years ago, which would have also made the question from his leadership so far removed from upcoming elections that one Moderate who spoke to The Local called it "a non-issue". 
 
At Södertörn University, Nick Aylott remained unsure whether proclaiming an heir would do anything to better the Moderates' chances at the poll.
 
"It's possible that a new face at the top could have energized the party and re-awoken public interest and even enthusiasm," he said. "On the other hand, Reinfeldt's great trump card is his track record."
 
"Nothing has gone badly under his watch." 

Ann Törnkvist (ann.tornkvist@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Snow warning amid road chaos in west Sweden
A previous snowfall in Gothenburg. Photo: TT

Snow warning amid road chaos in west Sweden

Heavy snowfall overnight has caused major traffic problems in parts of western Sweden, with meteorologists warning that further bad weather is on the way across the country. READ  

Sweden will make 'demands' on Palestine
The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaking in Cairo this month. Photo: TT

Sweden will make 'demands' on Palestine

Sweden’s new government recognised Palestine in its first foreign policy decision in October 2014 but Foreign Minister Margot Wallström has said the state needs to change in order to retain Sweden’s support. READ  

World reacts to notorious Swedish spy's death
Eugene Sydholt, better known as Swedish spy Stig Bergling, being released from Sweden's Anstalten Asptuna prison in 1997. Photo: TT

World reacts to notorious Swedish spy's death

News of Stig Bergling's death made global headlines on Thursday, and by the end of the day it was Twitter's 10th most trending topic in the world. READ  

Christian Democrat party leader quits politics
Christian Democrat leader Göran Hägglund is quitting politics. Photo: TT

Christian Democrat party leader quits politics

Göran Hägglund, the leader of one of Sweden's four centre-right opposition Alliance parties has resigned, insisting it had nothing to do with the controversial December Agreement that the Alliance struck with the government. READ  

Presented by Verksamt.se
Stockholm job fair helps immigrant entrepreneurs
The scene at Bazaren in Stockholm. Photo: The Local

Stockholm job fair helps immigrant entrepreneurs

One of Sweden's largest job fairs, Bazaren, kicked off in Stockholm on Thursday, with an estimated 10,000 people set to attend the event with a special focus on entrepreneurs. The Local was on hand to survey the scene. READ  

Teenage gunman threat at Gothenburg school
Police in Gothenburg are searching for the missing gunman. Photo: TT

Teenage gunman threat at Gothenburg school

A teenage gunman threatened a female teacher at a high school in Gothenburg on Thursday afternoon, before fleeing the scene. Police told The Local that a huge operation was underway, with patrol cars and a helicopter scouring the city. READ  

'Swedish Dads' project gives surprise snapshot
Bävman and his 3-year-old son, Viggo. Photo: Johan Bävman

'Swedish Dads' project gives surprise snapshot

Sweden is often described as one of the most gender-equal nations in the world, but when Swedish father Johan Bävman started a photo project about being a dad during his paternity leave, he realized his country didn't always match global expectations. READ  

Integration now second biggest voter issue
A mosque in Stockholm. Photo: TT

Integration now second biggest voter issue

Education is the top issue for Swedish voters, with integration coming second, in a new poll which also suggests growing concerns about rising Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in Sweden. READ  

Sony ditches streaming service for Spotify
Swedens most famous start-up is gaining rapid momentum. Photo: TT

Sony ditches streaming service for Spotify

Swedish music streamer Spotify will provide the soundtrack for Sony devices, the two companies have announced, spelling the end to the streaming music service from the Japanese tech giant that invented the Walkman. READ  

The Local List
Top five trends from Stockholm Fashion Week
Stockholm Fashion Week. Photo: Kristian Löveborg/Fashion Week.se

Top five trends from Stockholm Fashion Week

Stockholm's twice-yearly fashion week wrapped up on Wednesday night, with bare backs, bellbottoms and beige among the top trends spotted by The Local on the catwalks. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching: January 28th
Gallery
IN PICTURES: European Figure Skating Championships in Stockholm
Business & Money
FATCA: 'The age of financial privacy is over'
National
Does Sweden help returning Isis fighters more than Swedish veterans?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: January snow snaps
Blog updates

26 January

The mysterious -s, part 1 (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! How is your Swedish coming along? A while ago I read on a forum on The..." READ »

 

23 January

Editor’s blog, January 23rd (The Local Sweden) »

"Happy Friday from The Local’s team in Stockholm. We can’t wait for the weekend, when we’re planning..." READ »

 
 
 
Society
Is Sweden's healthcare system a national embarassment?
Gallery
Property of the week: Skanör, Vellinge
Lifestyle
'Life as a Swedish candy-maker is sweet'
National
Why Sweden's Left party wants a European 'Red Spring'
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's hottest new fashion designers for 2015
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Who travels on Stockholm's different subway lines?
Lifestyle
Why this Swedish baby is a US hit
Lifestyle
'Limousine' snowplough for sale
People-watching: January 24th - 25th
Gallery
People-watching: January 24th - 25th
Society
Meet the 'beggars' buttoning up immigration critics
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden this week
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Madeleine through the years
Features
Learn Sweden's bizarre dating lingo
People-watching: January 21st - 22nd
Gallery
People-watching: January 21st - 22nd
Society
Why Sweden's viral 'genital' video is getting an English remake
National
Why does Sweden's Luleå have a giant ice beaver?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Who are Sweden's richest one percent?
Business & Money
How a classic Swedish snack got a revamp for 'busy' Stockholmers
Lifestyle
The Local's top Swedish acts for 2015
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Årets Bild photography prize winners
Business & Money
'I met my Swedish man in Tokyo's first Ikea store'
Gallery
Property of the week: A cozy apartment in Bromma, Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: January 17th - 18th
Lifestyle
How to make Swedish gravad lax
Lifestyle
Four hot Swedish home design trends
National
How The Local's video on a strange Swedish sound went viral
Gallery
People-watching: January 14th
National
The Local's guide to Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Politics
Paris attacks: Knock-on effects in Sweden and across Europe
National
Swedish Muslims react to new Charlie Hebdo magazine
National
The Local talks to Sweden's Home Affairs Minister about Paris attacks
Business & Money
Will Spotify launch on stock market after users rocket?
Accelerated
Texans and Swedes to play ice instruments
Gallery
Property of the week: An 18th century mansion in Stockholm
Business & Money
'Snowboarding drew me to work in chilly Sweden'
National
Are Sweden's royals moving to London?
National
How Sweden's Charlie Hebdo rally broke a winter protest record
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Madeleine through the years
Sponsored Article
Everything you need to know about moving to 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

1,126
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
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