A few weeks ago we were looking at some of the final polling coming out in advance of Sweden’s elections. At that time, it looked like the current ruling party, the Social Democrats, were in danger of losing much of their power. Surging from the right, the Sweden Democrats, described in the media as being anything from “anti-immigrant” to outright racist, were poised to make big gains. The results yesterday delivered on some of those expectations, but not enough movement in either direction to produce a clear winner. As of this morning, neither the center-left nor center-right parties are close to a majority and it’s unclear how anyone will be able to form a plausible ruling coalition. (The Guardian)
Sweden faces a period of political uncertainty after an election that did not leave either main parliamentary bloc with a majority.
With more than 99% of the vote counted, the centre-left bloc is sitting on 40.6% and the centre-right on 40.2%.
Analysts predict long negotiations, potentially taking weeks, will be needed to create a majority or a plausible minority government.
The populist, anti-immigrant party Sweden Democrats won 17.6% of the vote, up on the 12.9% it scored in 2014, but well below the 25% predicted in some polls.
While not in quite as much trouble, Sweden now finds itself in roughly the same position as Italy after their latest round of elections. The ascendant right-wing groups are nowhere close to a majority, but the Social Democrats took the lowest percentage of the vote in their lengthy history. (The Social Democrats have held power for more than a century.) The two blocks are each sitting with barely 40% of the available seats, so some sort of compromises are going to have to be made before a “plausible” government can be formed.
I don’t want to give anyone the wrong impression here, which may have happened when we last discussed the topic. No matter who comes out on top, there isn’t some sort of capitalist revolution going on in Sweden. They’re dealing with more of an argument about who should be benefitting from all the socialist goodies the government hands out. The Social Democrats have been far more open to accepting large numbers of migrants and taking care of their needs, while the Sweden Democrats (from the right wing) insist that the numerous new arrivals are taking jobs and benefits away from Swedes.
In that sense, this is the most “unrest” seen in living memory for what has long been considered one of the most stable governments in Europe. And once again we’re seeing the root cause being the fight over open borders and massive migration numbers. It’s not all that different from the arguments roiling Germany, Austria, Italy, Denmark, and others. And unless I’m reading the tea leaves entirely wrong, this won’t be the end of it either.