• Sweden edition
 
Elections 2014
Is the PM overstaying his welcome?
Kinberg Batra (L) next to the prime minister. File photo: TT

Is the PM overstaying his welcome?

Published: 15 Apr 2014 08:40 GMT+02:00
Updated: 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
Science
Swedish women in two-year sex pill study
Contraceptive pills have been linked to mood swings. Photo: Shutterstock

Swedish women in two-year sex pill study

Three hundred women from across Sweden are taking part in a study designed to demonstrate that modern contraceptive pills don't lead to decreased libido or mood swings. READ  

National
Dog attack policewoman acquitted on appeal
A scene from a video of the attack published by Dagens Nyheter

Dog attack policewoman acquitted on appeal

A policewoman accused of letting her dog attack a drunk man while she repeatedly hit him with a baton, has had her conviction overturned by a court in Stockholm. READ  

Entertainment
What's On: October 31st - November 7th
Uma Thurman will soon be on her way to Stockholm. Photo: TT

What's On: October 31st - November 7th

Halloween fun and an international film festival are the big events hitting Stockholm this week. We cast our eye over the capital and the rest of the country for the best activities to check out this week. READ  

International
Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark
Gottrid Svartholm Warg. File photo: TT

Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark

Sweden's Pirate Bay Founder Gottrid Svartholm Warg was found guilty of hacking crimes in a Danish court on Thursday. READ  

National
Malmö loses out as rare toads move in
The European green toad. Photo: H. Krisp (WikiCommons)

Malmö loses out as rare toads move in

After a rare species of toad moved into southern Sweden's Malmö, builders have had to tone down massive expansion plans in the area. READ  

Politics
Palestine recognized as state by Sweden
Palestinians in Gaza last month. Photo: Adel Hana

Palestine recognized as state by Sweden

The Swedish government has officially decided to recognize Palestine, with the move announced in a speech by the country's new Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. READ  

Interview
Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween
For ten days, Globen is transformed into a giant pumpkin. Photo: Shockholm

Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween

American Bill Schacht missed the spooky outfits, family feasts and charity events he associated with Halloween when he moved to Sweden. So he did something about it. The Local meets the founder of the capital's annual Shockholm parade. READ  

Business & Money
Huge losses for energy giant Vattenfall
A Vattenfall plant in Germany. Photo: TT

Huge losses for energy giant Vattenfall

Swedish energy company Vattenfall has reported losses for the third quarter in a row. READ  

International
Malala donates prize winnings to Gaza
Malala receives the Children's Prize from Queen Silvia. Photo: TT

Malala donates prize winnings to Gaza

UPDATED: Girls' rights champion Malala Yousafzai, who was in Sweden to accept the World's Children's Prize on Wednesday, said she would use all her winnings to help rebuild schools in war-ravaged Gaza. READ  

Swedish Honeymoon Killing
Cape Town 'fixer' phoned Dewani before killing
Dewani in a Cape Town court. Photo: TT

Cape Town 'fixer' phoned Dewani before killing

A man jailed for killing British businessman Shrien Dewani's wife during their Cape Town honeymoon said on Wednesday they spoke shortly before the murder to discuss payment. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Blog updates

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 
 
 
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
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

994
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:
www.swedishdowntown.com
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:
http://psdmedia.se
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.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN