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POLL

Alliance pulls away with a week to go: poll

The centre-right Alliance has extended its lead over the centre-left Red-Greens to almost ten percent with only a week to go before the Swedish general election, a new poll by Sifo showed.

For the second successive Sifo survey, which is published by the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) daily, the Alliance claimed an absolute majority with 51.7 percent of the vote, with the centre-left trailing with 42 percent, an increase of almost 2 points.

The Alliance has Sweden’s female voters to thank for the boost, SvD reported, with the centre-right enjoying the backing of 52.8 percent of the female voters, to 43.9 percent for the centre-left, a reverse of the situation in the spring.

“Generally speaking women are interested in welfare issues, but the Red-Greens have not managed to get the election campaign to be about welfare,” said Toivo Sjóren at Sifo to SvD.

The Social Democrats received the backing of 28.7 percent, a new record low and around six percentage points below their election result in 2006. In Stockholm the party has the support of just over 18 percent, the poll shows.

“We are no so close to the election that it is now just the election result that matters. We know that we have a lot of hard work ahead of us,” said Social Democrat party secretary Ibrahim Baylan to news agency TT.

Baylan attempted to play down the importance of the opinion polls and the latest Sifo indicating plunging support for the Social Democrats and the Red-Green coalition.

“Opinion surveys are all very well, but it is the Swedish people who decide this on September 19th,” he said.

Baylan remained upbeat, latching on the high number of undecided voters.

“We have a large number of television debates during the week. They will be decisive for all who have not yet decided. It is set to be an intense week, with full focus on election day,” he said.

Red-Green coalition partners, the Left and Green parties remained higher than the election result of 2006, with 6.2 and 7.1 percent respectively.

The Centre Party remains a cause of concern for the Alliance coalition, with 4.8 percent in the Sifo poll Maud Olofsson’s party are perilously close to the four percent threshold for parliamentary seats.

The Christian Democrats meanwhile bounced back 2.2 percentage points to 6.7 percent.

The far-right Sweden Democrats increased by 1 point to 4.6 percent. While this is sufficient to claim parliamentary seats, the party would not hold the balance of power.

Sifo/SvD’s poll results are based on interviews conducted with 1,435 people from September 6th-9th.

Sifo poll results, September 10th 2010 (changes since September 3rd 2010 in parentheses)

Government

Moderate Party 31.4 (-0.3)

Centre Party 4.8 (-1.9)

Liberal Party 8.8 (+1.6)

Christian Democrats 6.7 (+2.2)

Total: 51.7 (Election 2006: 48.2)

Opposition

Social Democrats 28.7 (no change)

Left Party 6.2 (+0.9)

Green Party 7.1 (-2.6)

Total: 42.0 (Election 2006: 46.1)

Sweden Democrats 4.6 (+1.0)

Others 1.9 (-0.8)

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NATO

PM: Social Democrats could decide on Nato on May 15th

Sweden's Prime Minister has said that her party has brought forward the date for a decision on Nato membership by ten days, meaning a decision could be in place before a state visit by Finland's president in mid-May.

PM: Social Democrats could decide on Nato on May 15th

The decision had previously been tabled for a meeting of the party board on May 24th, but could now be taken at an extra meeting of the Social Democrats ruling committee on May 15th, Magdalena Andersson said at a press conference on Thursday. 

“We will of course discuss the issue and then we can see if we feel ready to take a decision or not,” she said at a Ukraine donors’ conference in Warsaw. 

She said that the security guarantees Sweden has received from the US and Germany for the period between a possible application and full Nato membership were significant. 

“It means a lot if Sweden chooses to send in an application, that we will be safer during the period up until we become members than we otherwise would be,” she said. 

“The party committee can take a decision then,” Party secretary Tobias Baudin he told Sweden’s TT newswire of the May 15th meeting. 

The meeting will come just two days after the Swedish government’s ‘security policy analysis group’, which includes representatives from all political parties, is due to submit its own reassessment of Sweden’s security situation. 

“It depends on what the security policy dialogue shows,” Baudin says of the decision. “Right now meetings in party districts are going at full pace.” 

The May 15th meeting will take place on the Sunday before the week when Finland’s Iltalehti and Sweden’s Expressen newspaper last month reported Finland and Sweden had already decided to jointly announce a decision to join Nato.

Finland’s president, Sauli Niinistö, is due to visit Stockholm on 17th May and 18 May on a state visit, where he will be hosted by King Karl XVI Gustaf.  

The meeting of the Social Democrats’ ruling committee will come shortly after the party holds three digital members’ meetings on security policy, on May 9th, May 10th and May 12th (although these may also be brought forward). 

There is still resistance in the party’s rank and file, with at least three of the party’s powerful leagues still openly opposed to joining: 

  • The Social Democratic Women in Sweden voted last week to continue its opposition to Nato membership.
  • The Swedish Social Democratic Youth League has said it would prefer Sweden to bolster its security through the EU.
  • The Religious Social Democrats of Sweden has said that it believes the decision should not be rushed through at a time of conflict.  
  • The Social Democrat Students’ League has said that it wants to wait until it has seen the security police analysis before taking a decision. 

None of these leagues can block membership, however. It is the Social Democrats’ ruling party committee which is empowered to take the decision. 

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