Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sweden voted more or less as predicted ....

.... though I understand that the bien pensants of that country are in shock. Well, they should have read this blog. The obvious conclusion we can draw from the results is that nobody has won.
Results show Stefan Lofven's opposition party is set to return to power, but with no clear parliamentary majority.

They give the centre-left bloc 43.7%, ahead of 39.3% for Fredrik Reinfeldt's centre-right ruling coalition. The far-right Sweden Democrats were at 13%.

Mr Reinfeldt admitted defeat and later handed in his resignation letter.

He also confirmed that he would step down as leader of the conservative Moderate Party.

Earlier on Monday, Stefan Lofven spoke briefly to Swedish media as he left his home in central Stockholm.
There will be a coalition, of course, but it is not clear who will be in it. The one thing we do know is that the party described as "far right" by our own media as well, the Swedish Democrats, will not be in it, with Mr Lofven rather snootily explaining that 87 per cent did not vote for them. Of course, on that basis, he ought not to be the Prime Minister either as rather a large proportion of the electorate even of those who turned out, did not vote for his party.

Luckily, this blog has its own Swedish correspondent, who sent us this information:
Although the opinion polls had foretold a massive left-green majority for months, ousting the centre-right government, the last couple of polls had indicated that neither side would gain a majority and the Swedish Democrats would hold the balance of power in the new parliament. This came to be, though there were some interesting surprises:

1) The winners, the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left Party in total increased by 0.1% (and that's before the last postal votes are counted, so it may be ±0 in the end). Thus, the left didn't increase one iota from the catastrophic results of 2010.

2) The Feminist party managed to gain 3.1% (mainly votes from Stockholm and the university towns). This was not enough to get a seat in the parliament (4.0% needed). The votes were gained from previous non-voters and from the Left party and the Greens. However, even if we add the Fi votes to the other votes of the left it barely makes 47%. Gone are the days when the Swedish political landscape was dominated by the parties from the left. So much for the political winds blowing from the left.

3) All the parties making up the government received a hiding, mostly the Moderates (Cons), but still their 23,2% would have counted as a very good result prior to the last two elections.

4) And the winners were the Swedish Democrats with 12,9%. The Swedish commentariat is dumbfounded. Sooo much!!! And true, not a single opinion poll had put the SD above 10.5% (and that was only one or two among many), but in reality there was no need to be surprised. The betting companies had even odds for about 12.5%, so one wonders why it was so much harder for the polling companies to get it right.

As I wrote last, all the other parties refuse to cooperate with the Swedish Democrats, which given the other political, ideological and personal hang-ups will probably mean that Sweden will enter either a Belgian period (no government) or an Italian period (many governments).
Well, well. Swedish politics may well turn out to be quite interesting in the next few months. If it ends up with no government for any length of time the argument for governments being an absolute necessity will be considerably weakened.

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