Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A government crisis in Sweden

By that I mean that the Swedish government has fallen and a snap election has been called for the first time in fifty years. Whether that is a crisis or not I leave readers to determine.

EUObserver ticker gives the news baldly:
Sweden's minority Social Democrat government may fall on Wednesday, prompting new elections, after only two months in office. The political crisis results from the far-right Sweden Democrat party announcing its support for the centre-right Alliance opposition bloc's alternative 2015 budget. The Alliance and the far-right hold a majority together.
Reuters gives us more in a more up-to-date story:
Sweden will hold its first snap election for more than half a century in March after a far-right party helped defeat the center-left minority government's first budget in parliament on Wednesday.

Formed after a fractured September election that handed the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats the balance of power, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven's Social Democrat-Green coalition has been widely viewed as Sweden's weakest government in decades.

Shunned by mainstream parties, the Sweden Democrats have threatened to make Sweden effectively ungovernable unless the country adopts tough immigration policies like those of nearby Denmark, including a 90 percent cut in asylum seeker numbers.
Of course, shunning a party that has some electoral support is never a good idea but the Swedish main-stream parties are not the first to make that mistake.

The issue here is not anything seriously evil but whether Sweden should continue its open door immigration policy, given that it puts the famed Swedish welfare model under strain and has caused a number of problems with communities that have no intention to integrate into the Swedish society. Indeed, some have demanded that Swedish society should adjust to their standards.

At the very least, this should be debated and, as things stand, the Sweden Democrats are making sure it will be.
The rise of the Sweden Democrats has also threatened to break a decades-old agreement across the political spectrum on an open door policy for refugees. Former Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has called Sweden a "humanitarian superpower".

Mattias Karlsson, the acting head of the Sweden Democrats, vowed his party would turn the upcoming election into "a referendum for or against increased immigration to Sweden".

Sweden was the biggest per-capita recipient of asylum seekers and refugees last year, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
It is entirely possible that the instability caused by a certain blindness on the part of the main stream parties will continue after the next election. It is all a new experience for Sweden.

Some readers might like to recall what was on this blog on the subject in September.


  1. Interesting start to the re-election: The PM decides to go to the urns together with his Green coalition partner and the rejected Left-Green-Social Democrat budget. So the Social Democrats will not argue for their own policies but a much more red/green tinged variant, but....try to undrstand this...the Social Democrats and the Greens are going to run their own campaigns despite running on the same platform (??!!)

    Three months is an eternity in politics but it looks like Mr Löfven is trying to emulate Mr Kinnock's and Mr Foot's electoral successes. Also very likely is a further growth of the anti-immigration party SD (who actually was ready to negotiate with all of the other parties, and though it advocated a 90% reduction in asylum numbers it made clear it was willing to reduce its demands to 50%. I guess the pols of the other parties did not want to be confused with members of the oldest profession by discussing figures.)


    1. I am guessing, Mikgen, that the Swedish Democrat vote will go up.

    2. Long time to go, but the two latest polls put the Swedish Democrats at 16.4% (Sentio) and 17.7% (YouGov) as compared to the election result of 12.9%. Interesting to note that it is only non-Swedish polling companies (Norway, UK) who sees an increase for SD. Sentio's last poll before the election was 12.5% för the SD compared to around 8% for all the Swedish polling companies. One wonders......


      PS: It is really unfair. All the politicians are doing the utmost to help the Swedish Democrats. Yesterday both the PM and the Finance Minister called the SD "neo-fascists". Not even the media was convinced. And today an interview with the recently deposed PM Mr Fredrik Reinfeldt was published in the Danish paper He was asked whether Sweden had not accepted enough refugees by now, and responded:

      "What does enough mean. Is Sweden full up? Are the other Nordic countries? Are we too many people here? We are 25 millions all together in Scandinavia and Finland. I often fly across Sweden. I would suggest others to do the same. I see endless expanses of fields and forrests. There is so much space. Those who claim the country is filled up have to show where it is full."

      Really, I know it would have been more proper to act like Mark Twain and draw a curtain of charity across this whole episode, but I couldn't help myself. Sorry.