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POLITICS

Your views: How Sweden’s foreign residents see the current political crisis

The Local's readers have been getting in touch to share your thoughts on Sweden's centre-left government being toppled and many are not impressed. Here's a selection of your views.

Your views: How Sweden's foreign residents see the current political crisis
Parliament was fuller than it has been in a year for the no-confidence vote, which saw 181 MPs vote against the current government. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

“The government has not been effective. This has been on the cards for a long time. It is the ultimate price of being passive during one of the biggest public crises of the modern day, and delivering really poor reforms.” – Matthew

“The Left Party wants to make a strong point on market rents, but it doesn’t really, really want to topple the government, just… shake it up a little bit.” [This quote is from The Local’s article explaining how the crisis arose, which you can read in full here)]. Just for the record, this is exactly what a bunch of Americans said about why they voted for Trump; they didn’t really like him, but they liked “government” less, so they just wanted to ‘shake it up a bit.’ The Sweden Democrats definitely want to topple this government.” – an American living in Skåne

“Löfven’s arrogance is a summer present on a silver platter to the Swedish right. The question is, what was the end game really? Marknadshyra [rent controls, the issue that caused the rift] was just an unnecessary move given the volatility of the political environment, pandemic and high cost of living for the poor who can’t afford to buy apartments. When exactly did socialists start sacrificing power in pursuit of neo-liberal politicies.” – Dennis Johanes

Catch up on Sweden’s political crisis:

“No matter if you are right or left oriented, using political tricks, instead of working closely and negotiating, in times like now is simply stupid. I’m really sad that this way of politics also came to Sweden. It is important to constantly raise that politicians are to serve and help with running a country. Not fight in the name of their short term election interests.” – Anders

“It’s all a bit confusing at first. However, with a bit of digging it’s clear why the Left Party chose the path they did. At the same time, as an immigrant without permanent status in this country, the possible outcomes of this situation terrify me very much. Once again I feel as though I don’t have a say in my own future or any stability to rely on.” – Allie Lindo

“I have been living in Sweden for seven years and I’m thrilled to see where this takes us. Finally kicking out the lagom mentality with this PM.” – a reader who asked to be identified as a Latino in Sweden

“Refreshing, when compared to the Brazilian political situation that I’m used to.” – Caio, an engineer in Gothenburg

“[Löfven] loves the office more than the country and there’s no way Sweden will get rid of him… you just wait and see.” – a former political science graduate living in Stockholm

“With the increasing populism, focus on wedge issues instead of actual social problems, and now a clear centre vs right-wing consolidation, Sweden politics are starting to look a lot like politics in the USA.” – American in Gothenburg

Meanwhile, several readers responded with comments on the politicians’ use of face masks while casting their vote. Face masks were not advised in crowded public places in Sweden on a national level until January 2021, when the Public Health Agency recommended their use on public transport during weekday rush hour, though several regions introduced their own recommendations:

The responses published are a sample of those we received through our social media channels and in a survey. 

 

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2022 SWEDISH ELECTION

What’s the Swedish Christian Democrats’ abortion contract all about?

Ebba Busch, leader of Sweden's Christian Democrats on Monday presented an "abortion contract", which she wants all of Sweden's party leaders to sign. What's going on?

What's the Swedish Christian Democrats' abortion contract all about?

What’s happened? 

Ebba Busch, leader of Sweden’s Christian Democrat party, called a press conference on Monday in which she presented a document that she called “an abortion contract”, which was essentially a pledge to safeguard the right of women in Sweden to have an abortion.  

“There is room for signatures from all eight party leaders,” she said. “I have already signed on behalf of the Christian Democrats.” 

What does the so-called “abortion contract” say? 

The document itself is fairly uncontroversial.

It states simply that Sweden’s law on abortion dates back to 1974, and that it grants women the right to an abortion up until the 18th week of pregnancy, with women seeking abortions later in their pregnancy required to get permission from the National Board of Health and Welfare. 

“Those of us who have signed this document support Sweden’s abortion legislation and promise to defend it if it comes under attack from forces both within our country and from outside,” the document reads.  

Why have the Christian Democrats produced it? 

The decision of the US Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade, and so allow US states to ban abortion has aroused strong feelings in Sweden, as elsewhere, and Busch is seeking to send a strong signal to distance her own Christian party from the US religious right. 

Abortion has been a recurring issue within the Christian Democrats with several politicians and party members critical of abortion. 

Lars Adaktusson, a Christian Democrat MP, was found by the Dagens Nyheter newspaper to have voted against abortion 22 times when he was a member of the European parliament. 

The party has also in the past campaigned for the right of midwives and other medical professionals who are ethically opposed to abortion not to have to take part in the procedure. 

So why aren’t all the other party leaders signing the document? 

Sweden’s governing Social Democrats, and their Green Party allies, dismissed the contract as a political gimmick designed to help the Christian Democrats distance themselves from elements of their own party critical of abortion. 

“It would perhaps be good if Ebba Busch did some homework within her own party to check that there’s 100 percent support for Sweden’s abortion legislation,” Magdalena Andersson, Sweden’s prime minister, said. “That feels like a more important measure than writing contracts between party leaders and trying to solve it that way.”  

In a debate on Swedish television, Green Party leader Märta Stenevi argued that it would be much more significant if Busch’s own MPs and MEPs all signed the document. 

It wasn’t other party leaders who needed to show commitment to abortion legislation, but “her own MPs, MEPs, and not least her proposed government partners in the Sweden Democrats and even some within the Moderate Party”. 

She said it made her “very very worried” to see that the Christian Democrats needed such a contract. “That’s why I see all this more as a clear sign that we need to move forward with protecting the right to abortion in the constitution,” she said. 

How have the other right-wing parties reacted? 

The other right-wing parties have largely backed Busch, although it’s unclear if any other party leaders are willing to actually sign the document. 

Tobias Billström, the Moderates’ group parliamentary leader, retweeted a tweet from Johan Paccamonti, a Stockholm regional politician with the Moderate Party, which criticised the Social Democrats for not signing it, however. 

“It seems to be more important to blow up a pretend conflict than to sign the Christian Democrats’ contract or look at the issue of [including abortion rights in] the constitution, like the Moderates, Liberals and Centre Party want to,” Paccamonti wrote. 

The Liberal Party on Sunday proposed protecting abortion rights in the Swedish constitution, a proposal which has since been backed by the Moderate party and the Centre Party

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