Introducing the Red-Greens

Introducing the Red-Greens
Here's a look at the centre-left Red-Greens, who hope they can move from opposition to Sweden's governing coalition.

The Red-Green coalition consists of three parties – the Social Democrats, the Green Party, and the Left Party. Party leaders are Mona Sahlin, Peter Eriksson/Maria Wetterstrand and Lars Ohly, respectivley.

The Left Party and the Green Party previously supported the minority Social Democrat government that held power from 1998-2006.

History and ideology

The centre-left Red-Green coalition was formally announced on December 7th 2008 after the parties had managed to reach agreement on basic principles of their economic policy.

The formation of what has become known as the Red-Greens (de rödgröna) came after several months of negotiations following the breakdown of talks in Bommersvik in 2008. The Left Party declined to budge on key economic issues – such as the independence of the Riksbank and budgetary discipline.

On October 2nd the Social Democrats and the Green Party presented a joint budget proposal and announced a cooperation which excluded the Left Party. Following internal criticism from leading Social Democrat groups, as well as significant shifts in Left Party economic policy, the parties were able to patch up their differences and in December announce a ”deeper cooperation” with the goal of building a coalition government after the 2010 election.

2010 election platform

On August 31st, The Red-Greens presented an election manifesto entitled: Responsibility for the whole of Sweden (Ansvar för hela Sverige), promising to match the Alliance reform budget of 12.8 billion kronor ($1.72 billion) for 2011.

Key points

*Remove the tax gap between pensioners and wage earners

*Cut the ceiling on daycare costs and expand opening hours to cover evenings and weekends

*Retention of the tax deductions for renovations on the home (ROT) and abolition of the tax deduction for household services (RUT)

*Climate deduction for households investing in energy efficiency and climate-friendly measures.

*Expand subsidies for employers hiring the unemployed to cover trainee and apprenticeships

*Sales tax cut for restaurants.

*Reintroduction of wealth tax

The Red-Green parties are going to the polls on a platform of welfare investment over tax cuts. While the coalition has promised tax cuts of up to 17 billion kronor for pensioners, it rejects further tax cuts for wage earners and proposes the reintroduction of some form of wealth tax.

Mona Sahlin and Social Democrat economic affairs spokesperson Thomas Östros, regularly point out that unemployment has increased over the past four years and argue that government policies on sick pay and unemployment benefits have lead to greater divisions among groups in society.

The Red-Green opposition, like the Alliance, is keen to emphasise that there are two clear alternatives available to voters on September 19th. The Red-Greens argue that they offer “a modern welfare state where jobs are put first”, while asserting that the Alliance wants a tax-cutting agenda that undermines Sweden’s social unity.

To return to the election guide main page, click here.

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