Persson: Alliance will lead to ‘financial morass’

Outgoing prime minister Göran Persson has warned that the new Alliance government's policies will lead to a "financial morass".

Persson pointed out that Fredrik Reinfeldt’s programme, presented in a speech to the Riksdag on Friday, did not say in which order reforms would be carried out.

“It’s full steam ahead for tax cuts, it’s full steam ahead for new spending,” the ex-prime minister said.

Persson added that a real appraisal of the government’s programme could only be made when its first budget is announced in around one week from now.

He also said that open unemployment would rise under the Alliance.

“A change of system is about to be undertaken on the employment market,” he said.

Commenting on the Alliance’s choice of ministers, Persson said it was “essentially a one-party government.”

“I am surprised that the other parties have bought this. One can only observe that Sweden has done well under a one-party government over the years, and this is as near to a one-party government as it is possible to get.”

Persson said he was surprised that Reinfeldt had not chosen a politician as finance minister, putting Moderate Party chief economist Anders Borg in the job instead.

“It is a political position, it is not a position that should primarily be filled by someone who can work out a balance sheet. Every time we’ve taken such an approach it has gone belly up. It’s surprising that they have chosen a technocrat.”

He said it “remains to be seen” whether Sweden’s foreign policy will change with Carl Bildt as foreign minister.

“We have to hope that the other parties in the government that believe in Sweden’s freedom from alliances are strong enough to provide a balance. There’s a passion for Nato among Liberals and Moderates, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that is now given free rein.

“In that case we have a new situation and then that will become a new area of conflict. This has not been the case for many years – we will have to wait and see how Carl Bildt’s judgment is.”