1950s kids “the red generation”

Swedes born in the fifties are often seen as a forgotten generation, crammed between the babyboomers of the forties and the cool sixties kids. But at last they have a defining feature: they are officially the socialist generation.

The label comes from research carried out by Statistics Sweden, which shows that not once in the last 30 years has a majority of Swedes born in the fifties supported the country’s conservative parties.

This is the first time that voting choices have been analysed by generation instead of age groups.

Since 1972, with only a few exceptions, all generations of Swedes have tended to support the socialist parties. Those born in the 1930s and 1960s drifted to the right on a couple of occasions, but primarily around 1990 when increased support from these generations saw the conservative parties take power.

But there has never been a conservative majority among those born in the fifties. Their voting patterns have always been much further to the left than other generations and on several occasions – 1981, 1994 and 2002 – the left parties enjoyed over 30% more support than the right.

“Those born in the fifties became politically conscious in the late sixties and early seventies. That was when they were at the impressionable age, between 15 and 25, when it comes to politics, religion, taste in music or favourite football team,” said researcher Sören Holmberg.

Among people born in the thirties and forties, no significant difference between male and female political sympathies has been found. That is not so for those born in the following two decades.

Women born in the fifties were further to the left in their voting patterns than men up until the end of the 1990s, but now that gap has closed. Women born a decade later are still clearly more in favour of Sweden’s socialist parties than their male counterparts, according to Statistics Sweden.

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Sweden’s right-wing parties agree to bring back Norlén as Speaker 

The four parties backing Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson as prime minister on Sunday announced that they had agreed to keep the current Speaker, Andreas Norlén in place, when the role is put to a vote as parliament opens on Monday.

Sweden's right-wing parties agree to bring back Norlén as Speaker 

The parties won a three-seat majority over the bloc led by the incumbent Social Democrats in Sweden’s general election on September 11th, and are currently in the middle of negotiating how they will form Sweden’s next government. 

Sweden’s parliament meets at 11am for the official installation of the 349 MPs for this mandate period. The votes for the Speaker and three Deputy Speakers are the first item on the agenda, after which the parties each select their parliamentary leaders and then vote on who should chair each of the parliamentary committees. 

READ ALSO: What happens next as parliament reopens? 

In a joint press release announcing the decision, the parties also agreed that the Sweden Democrats would be given eight of the 16 chairmanships the bloc will have of parliamentary committees in the next parliament, and that MPs for all four parties would back Julia Kronlid, the Sweden Democrats’ Second Deputy Leader, as the second deputy Speaker, serving under Norlén. 

In the press release, the parties said that Norlén had over the last four years shown that he has “the necessary personal qualities and qualifications which the role requires”. 

The decision to retain Norlén, who presided over the 134 days of talks and parliamentary votes that led to the January Agreement in 2019, was praised by Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson. 

Norlén, she said in a statement, had “managed his responsibilities well over the past four years and been a good representative of Sweden’s Riksdag.” 

The decision to appoint Kronlid was opposed by both the Left Party and the Green Party, who said that she supported tightening abortion legislation, and did not believe in evolution.

The Green Party’s joint leader Märta Stenevi said that her party “did not have confidence in Julia Kronlid”, pointing to an interview she gave in 2014 when she said she did not believe that humans were descended from apes.

The party has proposed its finance spokesperson Janine Alm Ericson as a rival candidate. 

The Left Party said it was planning to vote for the Centre Party’s candidate for the post second deputy Speaker in the hope of blocking Kronlid as a candidate.