Over half of government’s MPs could quit

Fewer than half the MPs in Sweden's ruling red-green coalition plan to stand for re-election, according to a new survey by Swedish Radio.

Asked whether they would consider standing at the next election, fewer than half of MPs in the Social Democratic, Green and Left parties answered in the affirmative.

Of 144 Social Democrat deputies, only 67 said that they definitely intended stand in the 2006 election. Eighteen said that they did not intend to stand, with 31 MPs currently uncertain. Twenty-eight did not respond to SR’s question.

This contrasts with the attitude of MPs in the right-wing alliance, which is currently riding high in opinion polls. Forty-two Moderate Party deputies said they planned to stand next year, with only six planning to stand down, and a further seven either uncertain or not responding.

The pattern was repeated in the smaller parties: 23 of 33 Christian Democrat MPs plan to stand next time, whereas only 13 of 28 Left Party deputies plan to stay on.

Thomas Denk, senior lecturer in political science at Karlstad University, told The Local that the number of retiring MPs was likely to be due to a combination of factors, including a generational shift, with many long-standing deputies choosing to retire.

“Many MPs are undoubtedly feeling tired out, and the fact that the Social Democrats are doing badly in the polls clearly makes matters worse for them.”

How the retirement of so many MPs will affect the election campaign is unclear. Thomas Denk says that it could have both positive and negative effects on the Social Democrats:

“On the one hand the party will lose experience, but on the other hand they will gain new candidates with new energy”.