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Opposition poll lead 'very worrying': Reinfeldt

TT/The Local · 14 Dec 2009, 14:39

Published: 14 Dec 2009 14:39 GMT+01:00

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"It's very worrying. Mona Sahlin will become prime minister the way things are looking now, without her letting anybody know where she wants to take Sweden and without [the opposition parties] having prepared any common policies" said Reinfeldt, speaking on the sidelines of a speaking engagement on Monday at Stockholm University.

"I'm going to do all I can to avoid throwing Sweden into cold water," he added, before predicting that next year's election is likely to crystallize into a referendum on the opposing blocs' respective employment policies.

A Sifo survey presented on Sunday put the three-party red-green opposition in an eleven point lead over the government. According to the poll, the Social Democrats, Green Party and Left Party enjoy the combined support of 52.2 percent of the electorate, compared to just 40.8 percent for the centre-right Alliance.

A Statistics Sweden poll published last week also indicated that Mona Sahlin and her allies would enjoy enough support to form a government were an election to be held today.

Social Democrat leader Mona Sahlin said she did not wish to set too much stock in opinion polls released nine months before the election, but she expressed pleasure that the red-green alliance was beginning to gain momentum.

"I think it's partly down to the distinctiveness of the red-greens. It was all very unfamiliar at the beginning, prefaced by quite a difficult start. Now we have presented ourselves, established ourselves and have delivered quite a lot of common policies. That's something voters are increasingly seeing, and trusting, and appreciating," said Sahlin.

"But then there's also the debates about unemployment insurance, tax on pensioners and social insurance that are hitting the government hard. Their politics have always looked like this but it's now that they're being revealed," she added.

Reinfeldt said he believed his own protracted absences while on EU presidency duty may have had some bearing on the poor poll results.

The Prime Minister also believed criticism surrounding widespread changes to Sweden's sickness benefits system may have impacted negatively on the government's rating. But Reinfeldt added that the Social Democrats' own policies didn't differ substantially from those of the government.

"Basically they don't have any other proposals. They use information from the media and make a lot of noise because they think it will boost their support."

Reinfeldt noted that top Social Democrats who had looked into the social insurance system had reached the same conclusion as the Moderate-led government: that it was not sustainable for Sweden to have the highest rate of sick leave in Europe.

Story continues below…

"[Former Social Democrat prime minister] Göran Persson used to travel around in Europe boasting that we didn't have any unemployment," said Reinfeldt, who accused his predecessor's policies of leading to a situation in which the social insurance system was used as a buffer behind which to hide jobless figures.

"People received a stamp on their forehead to the effect that their working days were over," said Reinfeldt, adding that the Moderate Party did not believe in pushing people into early retirement programmes simply because they had an existential crisis at the age of 32.

His party had faith in the power of the individual to bounce back, said Reinfeldt.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:46 December 14, 2009 by Beynch
I wish someone could start commenting on this story, so I can respond. On this one I prefer to have a respondent's role.
16:47 December 14, 2009 by Rap43
"His party had faith in the power of the individual to bounce back, said Reinfeldt."

Yeah... the walking wounded 'bouncing' into the worst economic depression in recent history.

Mr Reinfeldt tells us the Social Democrats hid unemployment behind sickness benefits... he fails to mention that he wants to hide the same people under... outside of the economy... with no benefits, no assistance in finding work, no help in starting businesses... no help.

Anyone ever tried to get any help from Arbetsförmedlingen? They once told me to quit work to get A-kassa (under Mr Reinfeldt's 'new' policies).

Cute eh?
17:00 December 14, 2009 by Beynch
@Rap43. This is too easy, but you (deliberately?) lose sight of the fact that the recession is a global phenomenon, not a Swedish one. But such fumbling attempts at diversionary tactics are de-rigeur amongst those on the left, especially the Mona supporters. Leave out the important stuff, and perhaps no one will notice. Nice try Rap!
17:21 December 14, 2009 by Rap43
Not at all... the advice to quit work came well before the recession and his policy changes were already well under way before the world fell apart... seems reasonable to re-evaluate such policies in light of reality. It would have been bad enough pre-depression, now it is a perfect enticement to the creation of a booming 'black' economy which will only drain tax revenues further - at the worst possible time.

However, perhaps the biggest price will come at the polls... There were very many problems with the Social Democrat government pre-Reinfeldt, but people were better off. World economies will make little difference in the face of those memories.

Unless the neo-freemarketeers come up with some people-friendly ideas soon, they will not be re-elected. Perhaps some good old-fashioned right-wing corporate welfare would help? They could nationalise SAAB and save all those jobs.

Oh... sorry, that would preserve some value for Sweden... they should instead just give money to SAAB, Volvo, etc. so they can pay good dividends for just one more year...

Look how well it all worked for George Bush...
17:26 December 14, 2009 by vladd777
I think people need to give this government another 4 years. Maybe Sweden would hopefully, in the meantime, find 'another' Margot Wallström.

Or 'another' Alf Svensson.

In spite of its weaknesses and failures, Europe needs to keep focus on Christian values.
17:58 December 14, 2009 by Nemesis
His absences at the EU only let people in the EU see he was an idiot as well as the Swedes.

The sooner this idiot is unemployed the better.

@ Rap43

Well said.
19:00 December 14, 2009 by Beynch
@Rap43. Your orwellian verbal labyrinth appears to lack coherence. How does the fact that the Alliance policy changes were made prior to the global recession change anything in my argument in #3? You seem to want to revert to the old imaginary panacea of `tax-the-rich` and all the world's problems will be solved. Headed up by the Countess of Hägersten such a scenario would, in my opinion, drag Sweden even further down the sewer. And by dragging in Bush into the fray you are revealing your, socialist, colors. And what do you mean by "people friendly"? More, tax payer funded, social programs?
21:04 December 14, 2009 by Bosnia and Herzegovina
Could someone tell me how much is this poll illustrative for next 2010 Election that are 9 months away?
22:21 December 14, 2009 by Osokin
True : Tax the rich harder, problem solved
23:00 December 14, 2009 by tsruikk
Funny how you mention "Orwellian" when Orwell himself was a Democratic Socialist. Now, that is not the same as a Social Democrat. A Democratic Socialist is generally more to the left. Just humorous.
00:04 December 15, 2009 by Davyboy
Greetings to all, Whoever wins the next election in Sweden is the decision of the indigenous Swedish people.

While you're all deciding which way you will vote please watch the following Youtube for a reality check - it may be your future.

The You tube code doesn't work (funny that). However, please log on to You tube.com and type in ...While 20 million watch and worship X Factor..

It's 10 minutes and 5 seconds long. and is a 'snap-shot' of ongoing situations in the UK.

The gentleman on the right hand (split screen) in the opening sequence is Simon Hughes, a left-wing British politician, who happens to be a gay gentleman. The reason for me explaining that, to those who don't know who he is, becomes very quickly apparent, when speaking to the particular audience, when you watch the You Tube film.
03:27 December 15, 2009 by Davey-jo
What do you suppose old Fredrik has on his iPod; something groovy .....Those phone look a bit old fashioned though.
04:13 December 15, 2009 by falcon
After abandoning the manufacturing sector, they deserve to be tossed out.

They had the chance to help pick the groups who could have saved Saab. Instead, they allow silly and inexperienced supercar makers in the room. Thousands of jobs will be lost. Maybe, tens of thousands.
06:58 December 15, 2009 by Uncle
Rap43 - People were not better off.. Loud people were better off. Stressed, pensioners, sick, refugees, students....

The main body of the workers who are carrying the mentioned above on their shoulders are better off now, even with the recession. It is easier to switch a job nowadays and it is harder to avoid working intentionally for too long. It is harder to be an old useless fart on a stable work.

The market is more dynamic, small businesses are spreading and the economy is getting out of the stupor it has been in with the left wing prettinesses.
14:32 December 15, 2009 by JonnyDee
Its funny, you know, living in the U.S. reading all these comments from Swedes, Germans, & Italians, etc.

Each country blaming their leaders for this financial mess, when here's the cold hard truth, your current leaders are ineffectual, or at least as responsible for this depression as the school janitor would be for your child's school grades, which is NILL! Just as Obama is now being blamed for what Bush, Clinton, Bush Sr., and Reagan did, Reinfeldt is being blamed for what his predecessors did...

This economic recession was organized, yes, it was engineered and allowed to happen by a small group of global bankers, because in each of your countries, you are now so desperate to get your economies moving again that you are willing to give up your sovereignty, your hard-fought for environmental laws, your civil liberties, etc. which is exactly what "they" knew you would do and is how they will consolidate their power, and force you to accept less and to pay more. You are blind to what is really happening. Sweden especially was the shining beacon on the hill, a Utopia by design, until two things happened that are now the death knell of a once proud nation; removal of the incentives to work, and joining the EU.

Want proof?

The Krona has held relatively steady and has been a good hedge against the types of financial atrocities that have plagued the rest of the Euro countries, but now? Because of this engineered disaster. The most recent poll has Swedes wanting the Euro over the Krona....fools.

Goodbye Sweden of my youth, the Sweden of our dreams...hello Slave Sweden, soon, just another failed, quaint, little "state" in the multicultural, multiethnic, multifaith, consumerist, materialist blob that is the EU!
18:19 December 15, 2009 by Kronaboy
Thank god, for a moment I thought I had made a serious mistake in moving to Sweden, namely you Swedes were going to be stupid enough to follow the English/USA route.
11:05 December 27, 2009 by Hagen
Johnny Dee posted.:- ""Goodbye Sweden of my youth, the Sweden of our dreams...hello Slave Sweden, soon, just another failed, quaint, little "state" in the multicultural, multiethnic, multifaith, consumerist, materialist blob that is the EU! ""

You hit the nail on the head, the EU wants a slave society similar to USSR but without the Gulags, they ruined Britain and they were aided by corrupt British politicians, now it's Swedens turn ! and I dare say there will be corrupt Swedish Politicians that will do the bidding of the EU !

Britain is heading towards a revolution, what about Sweden then ?
10:27 December 31, 2009 by Kronaboy
So you guys are blaming the EU for UKs problems, a country renown for its anti EU and pro USA Policies, I fail to see your logic? Just remember guys the way your demographics is going when you are on your death bed its probably going to be a multicultural, multi-ethnic, multi faith black faced Swede health worker looking down on you trying to ease your pain....
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