• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'

Oliver Gee · 21 Aug 2014, 17:40

Published: 21 Aug 2014 17:40 GMT+02:00

With elections less than a month away, you'd be forgiven for thinking opposition leader Stefan Löfven will walk away as prime minister with no questions asked.
 
Indeed, the 57-year-old former welder has been a trailblazer in the polls for months, and the governing Alliance is still 7.7 percentage points behind the Red-Green bloc. 
 
But the competition heated up this week when Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt brought the red-hot topic of refugees onto the agenda, asking Swedes to open their hearts, show tolerance, and feel comforted by the fact that the Alliance could financially deal with the influx. 
 
With this in mind, and considering it's unlikely that either bloc will win a majority of the votes, The Local turned to Social Democrat and political commentator Stig-Björn Ljunggren for the lay of the land.
 
He offered two potential outcomes for September 14th. 
 
"The first scenario is that we get a new government, and I think this would more likely be due to people being pushed away from the Moderates rather than being pulled towards the Social Democrats," he explained.
 
"Some people are bored with the current government, some think they're incompetent, and some are just looking for a change. As a result, we'd get a minority government with the Social Democrats and the Greens. And in the long run, they'll try and make some kind of bloc in the central ground with parties from the other side. Löfven has long shown distaste for the traditional left and right."
 
The second result would see Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt getting his third four-year term in office. 
 
"And he'll only remain in power due to indirect support from the Social Democrats. He will tell the Red-Greens that if they want to form a minority government, they'll need to take on the Left Party, which Stefan Löfven doesn't want," Ljunggren explained. 
 
But where it gets both interesting and complicated, he explained, is how the Sweden Democrats come into play. 
 
"The reason the Sweden Democrats are major players, despite only having five or ten percent of the votes, is because of the rigidity of the bloc system. As no party on either side of the bloc is willing to support the other side, the Sweden Democrats have the key. And since no one wants to touch them, it becomes problematic."
 
Why? Because the nationalist party led by Jimmie Åkesson would hold the balance of power. Since the Swedish system is one of negative parliamentarianism, this opens up a can of worms. Negative parliamentarianism means that a government doesn't need to be actively supported by a majority of MPs - it just needs there not to be a majority actively voting against it.
 
The consequence is that abstentions can play a key role.
 
If, for instance, the Sweden Democrats choose to abstain in a parliamentary vote, and all the Alliance parties vote against a red-green government, then Stefan Löfven cannot be prime minister even if the combined forces of the red-green parties have more seats. 
 
But if Reinfeldt chooses to resign, speaker Per Westerberg will select the person he thinks has the best chance of forming a government. This is likely to be the leader of the largest party (probably Löfven), or possibly the leader of the largest distinct bloc (for instance, a successor to Reinfeldt as Moderate leader). 
 
The political scientist explained that the Sweden Democrats will essentially have the same role as the Greens did several elections ago, but the difference is that no party had any problems in principle talking policy with the Greens. 
 
Story continues below…
And considering the Sweden Democrats are likely to side with the Moderates, as they've supported the Alliance in around 90 percent of votes in parliament, the possibility of Reinfeldt winning again appears all the more likely.
 
"Of course, the Sweden Democrats might want something in return," Ljunggren mused. "But the Moderates have said they won't do any kind of negotiation."
 
So with what appears to be a very complicated election on Sweden's hands, how exactly will it pan out?
 
"If I had to guess now it'd be the Social Democrats with the Greens," Ljunggren said, adding quickly that he'd be keen to see the polls after Reinfeldt's refugee speech. 
 
"If his comments become the game changer he was hoping for, then I might change my bet."
 

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Oliver Gee (oliver.gee@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
My Swedish Career
'Sweden is the ideal place for my business'
Emilie Terstegge. Photo: Private

Why Sweden's fitness craze and generous family benefits helped this Dutch entrepreneur launch her startup for mums.

Police shoot knife man in central Stockholm
Police technicians spent the rest of Saturday night combing the square for clues. Photo: TT

A knife-wielding man was shot by police officers in Stockholm’s Sergel Square on Saturday night after he attacked officers.

 Ibrahimovic 'is not going to Manchester United' - agent
Ibrahimovic is pondering his next move. Photo: TT

According to Mino Raiola, the agent of Swedish superstar footballer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, his client will not be heading to Old Trafford to link up with Jose Mourinho, Manchester United's new manager.

More flight delays hit Swedish airport
For some flights, the problems have led to up to two hours of delays. Photo: TT

Travellers at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport were beset again with delays on Saturday afternoon after technical problems with flightplan management software.

Video
The top reactions to Swedish high heels handyman video
Andersson was in agony after a day of laying floors in high heels. Photo: Emil Andersson

What did The Local's readers think about this viral clip challenging sexist beauty ideals?

Transport authorities call for probe into tech glitch
SAS aircraft grounded at Arlanda airport last week. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

But officials say it was not sabotage that caused last week's network failure, which knocked out large parts of Swedish air traffic.

Why northern Swedes get the hots for sex toys
File photo of handcuffs. Photo: Gunnar Lundmark/SvD/TT

Where in Sweden do people buy the most sex toys? Kiruna in the far north, apparently.

Royal baptism day for Sweden's Prince Oscar
Prince Oscar with Archbishop Antje Jackelén. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

UPDATED: Royalty, dignitaries and other esteemed figures took to Stockholm's Royal Chapel for the ceremony.

Giant replica of Swedish 18th century ship up for sale
The Götheborg setting sail from Stockholm in 2008. Photo: Claudio Bresciani / TT

A replica of a doomed Swedish merchant vessel that sank in 1745 within sight of its home port of Gothenburg has been put up for sale.

Border checks
First migrants make it from Denmark to Sweden on foot
The Öresund bridge between Sweden and Denmark. Photo: Erland Vinberg/TT

Dozens of attempts have been made, but this is the first successful crossing since Sweden introduced ID and border checks.

Sponsored Article
How to find student housing in Malmö: 5 tips
Gallery
The best, cutest and funniest snaps from Prince Oscar's christening
Sponsored Article
Can you afford to live in Stockholm? (Hint: yes)
Travel
Is this town the best place in Sweden?
Gallery
People-watching: May 25th
Blog updates

27 May

Editor’s blog, May 27th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, Would you spend a day doing manual labour in high heels? That’s what Swedish…" READ »

 

17 May

What about “att”? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! It often seems like the small words are the ones that cause the most confusion.…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
Society
WATCH: Why Swedish handyman wore pink high heels for feminism
Sponsored Article
Stockholm makes it easier for refugees to meet startups
Sport
LIST: Top-ten ridiculous things Zlatan has compared himself to
Business & Money
Why Swedes don't want the euro
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Vika, Falun
Sponsored Article
Food, fun, and reliable sun: Summer in Dubrovnik
National
Is this the most Swedish tattoo ever?
Sponsored Article
How Stockholm startups help new employees feel at home
Gallery
People-watching: May 20th-22nd
National
How to really annoy a Swede abroad
Sponsored Article
'Only soft power can defeat radicalism'
National
How this war veteran is warming hearts in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm attracts so many successful researchers
Gallery
People-watching: May 18th
National
How this Swede's viral ad totally nailed Stockholm's housing crisis
Gallery
Property of the week: Vasastaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
Lifestyle
The best Swedish cities for dating
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Gallery
People-watching: May 13th-15th
Sponsored Article
Can you afford to live in Stockholm? (Hint: yes)
Culture
BLOG: Eurovision as it happened
National
Why a 116-year-old Swede isn't the world's oldest woman
National
Youth unemployment falls in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: May 11th
Gallery
People-watching: May 6th-8th
Politics
Why Sweden's Greens are in free fall
National
Can these cartoon Swedes help foreigners blend in?
3,348
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