Analysis: Budget crisis

‘Sweden will have a new election in the spring’

'Sweden will have a new election in the spring'
Three leading figures in the centre-right Alliance, Anna Kinberg Batra, Annie Lööf and Jan Björklund, leave government building after talks on Tuesday with PM Stefan Löfven.
Sweden's government crisis will most likely result in fresh elections in the spring, political scientist Jenny Madestam tells The Local.

Experts have described the impasse as unique in Swedish politics and theories abound as to what will happen next.

“The most probable scenario is that the government won’t get its budget to pass in parliament today. Stefan Löfven will leave and probably there will be a remake of the government,” says Jenny Madestam.

If the Prime Minister resigns, the speaker could then ask him to try to form a new government without the support of his coalition partners in the Green Party, but Madestam doesn’t  think this outcome would appeal to Löfven.

"I’m not sure that the Social Democratic party wants to have a single-party government. If that happened it’s possible that the Green Party would start negotiating with the Alliance.

"Some people think that sounds crazy because the Green Party is seen as a left party but that’s not true: they have [historically] been cheating on both sides,” she says.

Ideally, Löfven would like to forge deals with two of the smaller Alliance parties, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party, but they have so far rejected his advances.  

"They are very strong in this quartet and have worked together very closely. It’s very important for them to show this and keep this closeness."

"If someone takes the first step it could be seen as cheating on the Alliance and so I think that in each party, and also all together, they are having a lot of discussions about what to do right now."

Madestam says she agrees with the analysis of a former Social Democrat Prime Minister, Ingvar Carlsson, that Sweden looks ready for a move away from the two blocs that have dominated the political scene for the last ten years.

Like others, she sees the current impasse as being unprecedented in Swedish politics.

“We see now that the Sweden Democrats are in this [kingmaker] position and no one wants anything to do with them.”

"They are quite big in parliament and have now announced that they want to really make noises and also try to cause destruction. Then you really need to make sure you have a government that is strong enough to pass a budget and make other kinds of reforms.”

With this in mind, "perhaps the only possibility is to have an extra election".

Madestam believes the two biggest parties in parliament, the Social Democrats and the Moderates could each make gains in new elections as voters seek out tried and trusted havens of stability.

With a government collapse imminent, many Social Democrat supporters have accused the Alliance of selfishness and not doing what’s best for Sweden, but Madestam notes that the blame game is in play across the political spectrum.

"Right now everyone is angry with everyone and everyone is blaming everyone else. The situation is quite strange and new and everyone is thinking about how to find a solution."

Another expert, Stig-Björn Ljunggren expected the government to send its budget back to the parliamentary finance committee, effectively postponing a decision until after Christmas. But this won’t change the state of play, he said.

"In practice the Prime Minister has already resigned but he won’t do so constitutionally until December 29th when he can call new elections," Ljunggren  told news agency TT.

"I think the extra election will come as early as the start of February. There won’t be an election campaign as only a month or so will be needed to produce election ballots and organize polling stations.

Jenny Madestam expects the elections to be held somewhat later, at the end of March. 

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