• Sweden's news in English

"There is disgruntlement in the air"

Louis Roper · 11 Sep 2006, 18:05

Published: 11 Sep 2006 18:05 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

That would still leave Sweden's politics pretty central by anybody's standards. But what has changed in Sweden that leaves voters very close to booting out the architects of the country's legendary high tax, high welfare, high growth system? Has the Swedish model's beauty faded?

According to The Economist, "there is disgruntlement in the air and it is causing nervousness among the Social Democrats".

The paper notes that to an outsider, the fact that the ruling party is hanging on by a whisker "may seem like rank ingratitude" given the country's recent economic performance. But there is a great weakness: unemployment.

"Sweden is a world champion at massaging its jobless figures, which exclude those in government make-work programmes, those forced into early retirement and students who would prefer to be working," writes The Economist.

That is echoed by the The International Herald Tribune.

"The trump card for the center-right alliance is Persson's failure to translate Sweden's remarkable economic growth - 5.5 percent in the second quarter - into more jobs," said the paper in a recent article.

But the IHT also argues that the opposition Alliance's careful positioning has given it "the best chance in 12 years of retaking the government".

"Part of the reason is that the four opposition parties have overcome internal bickering, campaigning ahead of Sunday's elections as a united alliance for the first time," wrote the IHT, continuing:

"They also have toned down their conservative agenda. Gone are calls for sharp cuts in the world's highest taxes, welfare cutbacks and a determination to battle unions over workers' rights."

British paper The Observer points to the softer image of the main opposition party, the Moderates, and their leader Fredrik Reinfeldt:

Story continues below…

"Reinfeldt...has clawed his way from the free-market wing of his party to its centre. Nursing a casual T-shirt and jumper look in the party's publicity pictures and declaring himself an Abba fan, he makes much of being a father of three who likes a clean home and draws up efficient grocery shopping lists."

The paper appeared to be one of those surprised by the number of Swedes who, one way or another, are not working, noting that "an astounding 547,000 Swedes between the ages of 16 and 64 draw early retirement pensions, 12,000 of them under 24".

Meanwhile, the BBC says that "Swedish tolerance has been strained in this election campaign, marred by a scandal involving some opposition Liberal Party activists who hacked into the Social Democrats' computer system".

The Liberals' crisis appears to be receding into the background now, as election day looms. But the BBC notes that "many observers still expect the race to be uncomfortably close for the Social Democrats", suggesting that a German-style "grand coalition" is a real possibility.

Louis Roper (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
This is the new top boss of Swedish Ericsson
Börje Ekholm. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Telecoms giant Ericsson has appointed a new CEO after a turbulent year for the company.

These are Sweden's best universities: ranking
A new university ranking has been released. Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se

At least according to this global ranking, which picks 12 Swedish universities among the top-1000.

Swedish pharmacies restrict paracetamol sales for teens
The move is intended to cut paracetamol overdoses. Photo: Nora Lorek/TT

Sweden's pharmacies are banning teens under 18 from buying more than one pack of pills at a time.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

Rwandan genocide suspect held in Sweden
A memorial centre in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

A man has been arrested in Sweden suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide which claimed 800,000 lives.

Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available