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Author Topic: 2 years left to the Swedish general elections!  (Read 3259 times)
Gustaf
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« on: November 28, 2008, 10:55:58 am »
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And how do things stand?

Following their narrow election victory the centre-right coalition has been plagued by bad media, scandals surrounding some low-profile ministers and voter euphoria over getting rid of the former S-leader Göran Persson, who was replaced by Mona Sahlin (the first female leader of the party ever). The opposition has for most of the post-election period enjoyed a lead of roughly 20% over the governing coalition. Recent polls show however that the gap has been cut in half and it seems to stem from two distinct causes: firstly, polls show voters trust the government more than the opposition when it comes to handling the economy, so that the financial crisis may so far have helped the government. Secondly, there has been a bit of a circus surrounding the formation of the opposition alternative.

This could be the topic of a lengthy essay, and if there is interest, such an essay may be forthcoming. Basically, the Social Democrats have never (or at least not since some time in the 1950s) entered an electino campaign as part of a coalition. There is a strong tradition of seeking a mandate for a Social Democratic government, period. This has become absurd since 1994, which was the last time the party managed to break 40% of the vote. As a result, Mona Sahlin decided to abandon this tradition, reasoning that voters wanted to know what the alternative to the government was. She decided, however, to exclude V, the ex-Communist Socialist Party, whose self-proclaimed Communist chairman has led the party to irrelevance on the far left and instead form a coalition only with the Greens who has moved to the centre in recent years.

But Sahlin suffers from weak  leadership and internal resistance. You may think of her as resembling Obama or Segolene Royal in terms of what she represents within the party, and there is strong opposition to her from trade unions and traditionalists. These more or less openly revolted against the decision; they distrust the Greens who are viewed as unserious hippies who threaten industry jobs and don't want to leave out the Socialists who are viewed as a more reliable part of the labour movement. This led to confusion and conflicts and Sahlin was forced to retract the decision. Discussions are now being held between all 3 parties but so far seem completely fruitless. The Greens have taken the opportunity to distinguish themselves by comparing the moderation of their positions with the hard-line stances of the Socialists, further souring the relations. The Greens and Social Democrats also seem to be continously moving along with their own dealings, with the Socialists on the side-lines.

As a result of the tightening in polls, it is unlikely that an S-MP coalition would constitute a majority, and they would thus be reliant on V.

Another head-ache is that it is looking increasingly likely that the Sweden Democrats, the major xenophobic party in Sweden will finally manage to break the 4% threshold for parliamentary representation. And how that is to be handled by the major parties is still not clear.
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« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2008, 01:04:34 am »
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But Sahlin suffers from weak  leadership and internal resistance. You may think of her as resembling Obama or Segolene Royal in terms of what she represents within the party, and there is strong opposition to her from trade unions and traditionalists.

Not Obama. Given your elaboration, Mona Sahlin is more like a Swedish Andrea Ypsilanti.
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« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2008, 07:31:57 am »

Segolene Royal in terms of what she represents within the party,

Stupidity?
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« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2008, 12:56:20 pm »
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Segolene Royal in terms of what she represents within the party,

Stupidity?

To an extent, yes.
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« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2008, 04:43:28 pm »
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What about the euro and NATO ? Some fresh news ?

Are there recent polls to assess the level of popular support of those 2 possible memberships ?
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« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2008, 06:48:34 am »
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What about the euro and NATO ? Some fresh news ?

Are there recent polls to assess the level of popular support of those 2 possible memberships ?

NATO membership is as dead as ever. I don't remember any recent polling but Swedish support for NATO has not gone above 30% in my lifetime, I think.

Support for the euro has gone up a little bit. Last poll I saw the no-side was ahead by about 6%. There is a political deal within the governing coalition though to not make a decision during this term. The yes-parties did say in 2003, as one of their arguments, that the no-decision would be "eternal" and many specified a decade as the smallest possible time-period till a new decision. There is now, however, talk about having a new decision after the 2010 election. This would be facilitated by the Centre Party shifting from no to yes, uniting the government behind a yes (this shift has happened in reality, C is just not yet admitting to it).

The fundaments of Swedish opinion is still pretty euro-sceptical though.
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« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2008, 07:42:34 am »
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What about the euro and NATO ? Some fresh news ?

Are there recent polls to assess the level of popular support of those 2 possible memberships ?

NATO membership is as dead as ever. I don't remember any recent polling but Swedish support for NATO has not gone above 30% in my lifetime, I think.

Support for the euro has gone up a little bit. Last poll I saw the no-side was ahead by about 6%. There is a political deal within the governing coalition though to not make a decision during this term. The yes-parties did say in 2003, as one of their arguments, that the no-decision would be "eternal" and many specified a decade as the smallest possible time-period till a new decision. There is now, however, talk about having a new decision after the 2010 election. This would be facilitated by the Centre Party shifting from no to yes, uniting the government behind a yes (this shift has happened in reality, C is just not yet admitting to it).

The fundaments of Swedish opinion is still pretty euro-sceptical though.

The financial crisis seems to have impacted the Swedish opinion on the Euro:

 Stockholm - Swedish opposition to introducing the joint European currency, the euro, has declined but a majority of voters still favour keeping the Swedish currency, a new survey said Monday.

The poll commissioned by the Dagens Nyheter newspaper showed that 48 per cent opposed replacing the krona with the euro while 44 per cent favoured introducing it.

The survey indicated that 7 per cent were undecided or would abstain from voting.

The November poll indicated that opposition to the euro was strongest in rural areas, among women and supporters of the opposition Left Party, Green Party and the Social Democrats.

However, a majority of backers of the Centre Party - one of four parties in the ruling coalition - were also opposed to replacing the krona. Fifty per cent were against while 45 per cent favoured replacing the krona, the poll said.

Market research group Synovate interviewed some 1,000 Swedes by telephone November 17 to 20.

In a referendum five years ago, 56 per cent of Swedish voters said they wanted to keep the krona while 42 per cent favoured the euro.

In May, a similar Synovate poll suggested that roughly 34 per cent favoured introducing the euro while over 51 per cent did not want to replace the krona.

Sweden joined the European Union in 1995.

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/europe/news/article_1444653.php/Poll_Decline_in_opposition_to_euro_in_Sweden_
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« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2008, 09:47:06 am »
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What about the euro and NATO ? Some fresh news ?

Are there recent polls to assess the level of popular support of those 2 possible memberships ?

NATO membership is as dead as ever. I don't remember any recent polling but Swedish support for NATO has not gone above 30% in my lifetime, I think.

Support for the euro has gone up a little bit. Last poll I saw the no-side was ahead by about 6%. There is a political deal within the governing coalition though to not make a decision during this term. The yes-parties did say in 2003, as one of their arguments, that the no-decision would be "eternal" and many specified a decade as the smallest possible time-period till a new decision. There is now, however, talk about having a new decision after the 2010 election. This would be facilitated by the Centre Party shifting from no to yes, uniting the government behind a yes (this shift has happened in reality, C is just not yet admitting to it).

The fundaments of Swedish opinion is still pretty euro-sceptical though.

The financial crisis seems to have impacted the Swedish opinion on the Euro:

 Stockholm - Swedish opposition to introducing the joint European currency, the euro, has declined but a majority of voters still favour keeping the Swedish currency, a new survey said Monday.

The poll commissioned by the Dagens Nyheter newspaper showed that 48 per cent opposed replacing the krona with the euro while 44 per cent favoured introducing it.

The survey indicated that 7 per cent were undecided or would abstain from voting.

The November poll indicated that opposition to the euro was strongest in rural areas, among women and supporters of the opposition Left Party, Green Party and the Social Democrats.

However, a majority of backers of the Centre Party - one of four parties in the ruling coalition - were also opposed to replacing the krona. Fifty per cent were against while 45 per cent favoured replacing the krona, the poll said.

Market research group Synovate interviewed some 1,000 Swedes by telephone November 17 to 20.

In a referendum five years ago, 56 per cent of Swedish voters said they wanted to keep the krona while 42 per cent favoured the euro.

In May, a similar Synovate poll suggested that roughly 34 per cent favoured introducing the euro while over 51 per cent did not want to replace the krona.

Sweden joined the European Union in 1995.

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/europe/news/article_1444653.php/Poll_Decline_in_opposition_to_euro_in_Sweden_

Yeah, that's the poll I was thinking about. Had the numbers a bit mixed up though. Synovate, it should be noted, is generally one of the best pollsters in Sweden, but they are, to an extent, in the pocket of Swedish corporations and the biggest morning paper, Dagens Nyheter which is an active pro-Europe propaganda piece. As a result, I suspect they sometimes tamper with the results to create political buzz. This was evident in 2003 when they, as the only pollster, suddenly showed a dramatic tightening of the race between yes and no to the Euro in the final week, something which never materialized in the end.

Another point worth noting is that the when Sweden held the referendum, the yes-side started out with a lead of 6-8% and then lost support constantly throughout the campaign, finishing with a 14% loss (which would probably had been even greater had the Swedish foreign minister and front face of the yes campaign not been murdered 2 days before the election).

Anyway, nothing is going to happen on that front till after the 2010 election. Unless they renege on their promises and throw democracy over-board for European integration. Which would never happen...
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« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2008, 04:13:04 pm »
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Thanks a lot. When there is a referendum on European questions, European support drops everywhere during the campaign: Ireland, France, Netherlands, Sweden, even in cases when the yes eventually prevails. Really disturbing...

So, Denmark seems to change faster than Sweden on the euro.

Another question: do you know if Swedish government is constitutionally forced to put replacement of the krona on referendum ?
Or is a parliamentary vote enough ?
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« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2008, 06:07:11 pm »
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Thanks a lot. When there is a referendum on European questions, European support drops everywhere during the campaign: Ireland, France, Netherlands, Sweden, even in cases when the yes eventually prevails. Really disturbing...

So, Denmark seems to change faster than Sweden on the euro.

Another question: do you know if Swedish government is constitutionally forced to put replacement of the krona on referendum ?
Or is a parliamentary vote enough ?

Sweden is not constitutionally forced to have any referenda on anything. The parliament can change the constitution on a whim without consulting the people as long as they have a large enough majority. On European issues they always do, of course. However, their is a promise to let the people decide the question of the euro. It would be a blatant slap in the face of the people and the fundaments of our democracy to take the decision in the parliament. They've done that before though. I would expect them to put it to a referendum, at least if it's gonna happen anytime soon. You may note that Swedish referenda aren't even decisive - they're merely of a consultory nature. Normally, however, the political parties pledge to follow the out-come. This has been broken in the past but probably would be followed today.

And I wouldn't call the pattern disturbing. Rather refreshing! It shows that arguments can still trump money and power on the odd occassion, which is a healthy sign of a democracy. That those out-comes get ignored is a less healthy sign though of course.

As for Denmark, those idiots have tied their currency to the euro so they're not really gaining much from staying out (apart from political independence). They've voted it down twice but a new referendum could be coming along I guess.

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« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2008, 06:29:16 pm »
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What's the requirement for an amendment? Two-thirds?
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« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2008, 06:49:27 am »
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Thanks a lot. When there is a referendum on European questions, European support drops everywhere during the campaign: Ireland, France, Netherlands, Sweden, even in cases when the yes eventually prevails. Really disturbing...


And I wouldn't call the pattern disturbing. Rather refreshing! It shows that arguments can still trump money and power on the odd occassion, which is a healthy sign of a democracy. That those out-comes get ignored is a less healthy sign though of course.


I agree with you.
What I meant to say is that it's disturbing for pro-European parties, wherever in Europe, who aren't able to put convincing arguments forward, even when it's less controversial (Maastricht was a real step forward, whereas Amsterdam and Lisbon are weird compromises on many subjects).
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« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2008, 10:13:48 am »
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What's the requirement for an amendment? Two-thirds?

I looked into it. Here is how it seems to be: the only way through which Swedish consitution can be changed is through a dual vote: one before and one after a general election, to prevent politicians from over-ruling the people and allow them to have a say.

However, a couple of years back the Swedish parliament voted through a special measure saying that on European issues power, as well as "competence-competence" that is the authority to give new authority, could be handed to the EU with a simple vote, taken by a qualified majority (3/4). This was deemed by many legal experts to be unconstitutional, but it was ignored. Of course, the Lisbon-treaty is also unconstitutional, but Sweden doesn't have any power-sharing with the Supreme Court, so parliament simply ignored that this time as well.

Hope that clears things up. Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2008, 04:04:32 pm »
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Ah. Some states use that here (Pennsylvania springs to mind).

So Sweden is like Finland when it comes to constitutional law? That is, the judiciary can't overturn unconstitutional acts of Parliament?
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« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2008, 05:27:32 am »
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Ah. Some states use that here (Pennsylvania springs to mind).

So Sweden is like Finland when it comes to constitutional law? That is, the judiciary can't overturn unconstitutional acts of Parliament?

Actually, in "theory" I think they can. But only if it is "obviously" unconstitutional. In reality, it's foreign to political tradition here. Sweden has absolutely no power-sharing. ALL power lies with the unicameral Riksdag which gets elected in its entirety every 4 years. There is no actual local power, no power for the executive or the judiciary. Of course, the actual power doesn't lie with MPs either, but with the political parties that orders them around. All votes are party-line, so individual MPs don't really make a difference.
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« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2008, 02:51:33 pm »
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I get the feeling you're not fond of the system.
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« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2008, 04:42:00 pm »
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I get the feeling you're not fond of the system.

Of course I'm not. It makes for boring politics and is democratically lacking without satisfactory gains to make up for it. It also helps make Sweden an extremely unsophisticated country politically.
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