• Sweden edition
 
Elections 2014
'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'
Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'

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. 
 
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 stories about Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Oliver Gee (oliver.gee@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swede Stenson defends DP World Tour title
Photo: TT/AP

Swede Stenson defends DP World Tour title

Sweden's Henrik Stenson made two birdies on the final two holes to successfully defended his title at the $8 million DP World Tour Championship on Sunday by two shots. READ  

Up to 300 Swedes fighting with Isis: report
Photo: TT

Up to 300 Swedes fighting with Isis: report

As many as 300 Swedes could have joined the Islamic State insurgency, Sweden's intelligence chief said Saturday. READ  

Swede Stenson on track for Dubai defence
Photo: TT

Swede Stenson on track for Dubai defence

Swedish world number four Henrik Stenson is on course to successfully defend his title at the DP World Tour Championship, the red-hot Rafael Cabrera-Bello may still pose a threat after Saturday's third round. READ  

Stolen ancient gold rings returned by post
A Swedish postman. Photo: TT

Stolen ancient gold rings returned by post

A collection of gold rings which date back some 3,000 years mysteriously turned up at the offices of a Swedish newspaper after they had gone missing from a museum collection years ago. READ  

Body of Irishman found in Stockholm
Stockholm's Old Town in the rain. Photo: TT

Body of Irishman found in Stockholm

The body of an Irishman who had been missing since November 10th was found in the harbour by Stockholm's Old Town on Thursday, it has emerged. READ  

Ibrahimovic returns as PSG claim top spot
Photo: TT

Ibrahimovic returns as PSG claim top spot

Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his first start for two months as Ligue 1 Champions Paris Saint-Germain went top for the first time this season with a 3-2 win at mid-table Metz on Friday night READ  

Julian Assange
Ecuador 'guarantees' Assange asylum
Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012. Screen grab: SVT

Ecuador 'guarantees' Assange asylum

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was on Friday guaranteed political asylum by Ecuador for "as long as necessary," one day after he lost an appeal against a Swedish warrant for his arrest. READ  

Abba's Björn defends Sweden's Spotify
Swedish artist Laleh alongside Björn Ulvaeus. Photo: Björn Ulvaeus

Abba's Björn defends Sweden's Spotify

Björn Ulvaeus has joined the row over Spotify's streaming costs, saying the music industry had to evolve but admitting that songwriters are losing money. He spoke to The Local's blogger Natalia Brzezinski from his newly adopted home, New York. READ  

Dark weekend looms for southern Sweden
Stockholm City Hall under the cover of clouds. Photo: TT

Dark weekend looms for southern Sweden

Southern Sweden looks set to stay under a blanket of cloud until at least Tuesday, as the darkest November in decades continues. READ  

Gothenburg rabbi reacts to death threats
Rabbi Hillel Ḥayyim Lavery-Yisraëli. Photo: Private

Gothenburg rabbi reacts to death threats

Gothenburg's rabbi received death threats following an attack on a synagogue in Jerusalem earlier this week. Leading figures in the Jewish community have told The Local they fear that anti-Semitism is spreading across Sweden, with Malmö already a key target. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
What's on in Sweden: November 20th to 27th
Lifestyle
How to make Swedish mulled wine
Lifestyle
How an Umeå museum is rewriting Swedish history
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Family life in Stockholm
Blog updates

21 November

Editor’s Blog, November 21st (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello from Stockholm, Our week started with reports another Russian plane had been spotted in Sweden’s airspace,..." READ »

 

21 November

Exclusive Interview with Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"Most of us will agree that actions speak louder than words. But when the two are..." READ »

 
 
 
Lifestyle
Five unique backpacker hostels in Stockholm
National
How to boost your career in Skåne, Sweden's south
National
Bones show off Sweden's history
National
What new word are Swedes voting on?
National
Why African Swedes are angry about Santa's helper
National
Pine, tar, and tinder: flavours from the north
Gallery
Selfies, solidarity and Hillary Clinton: Stefan Löfven on tour
Gallery
People-watching: November 19th
Society
Why are international professionals leaving Sweden?
Business & Money
Meet the Swedes who made suits for The Hunger Games
Technology
'I'm among the first Swedes with a microchip'
National
What is Sweden doing about bird flu?
Gallery
Property of the week: Eriksberg
National
Vecka45: Sweden's most innovative week
Gallery
In Pictures: The clubs and loves of Sweden's Sven-Göran Eriksson
Society
What's On in Sweden: November 13th to 20th
Gallery
People-watching: November 16th
National
Driving (expats) home for Christmas?
Lifestyle
Make your own Swedish pea soup
Politics
"Totally unacceptable": Defence Minister on Stockholm submarine
Society
The A-Ö guide to making life in Sweden easier
National
How a Swedish party inspired a masterpiece
National
Seen the new Ace of Base yet?
National
Meet the Irish woman thundering into Swedish rock
Gallery
In Pictures: Ace of Base through the years
Society
Ten things you should never say to a Swede
Gallery
People-watching: November 12th
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
National
Opinion: 'We have to talk about Sweden's Isis fighters'
Business & Money
Price hike for new mortgages in Sweden
National
Toy store catalogues 'too white' in Sweden
National
Pirate Bay co-founder released from prison
National
Southern Sweden had 201 days of summer
Gallery
Sweden's ten most powerful people
Gallery
Property of the week: Mariestad
National
Introducing... Healthcare in Stockholm
National
What you need to know about Stockholm hospital bug epidemic
Lifestyle
Young Serbian shouts for students in Sweden
Lifestyle
How to make your own chocolate kladdkaka
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
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

823
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:
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:
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
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
Click here for the full job description