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The Lord Marbury
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« on: December 30, 2017, 07:46:23 am »

With the new year fast approaching and bringing with it an election year for Sweden I thought that now would be as good of a time as any to start a thread for it.

It's been an eventful term to say the least, with neither of the two blocs in Swedish politics, the Red-Greens and the Alliance, having a majority in parliament. The Alliance had ran on a policy in the 2010 and 14 elections which stipulated that whichever bloc could gather the largest minority in parliament should be allowed to form government by the smaller bloc in order to lock out the far-right Sweden Democrats from power. In 2014 they had also promised to present a joint budget no matter if they lost the election as a way of showing unity. Staying true to his words, Fredrik Reinfeldt resigned as Prime Minister after the election and the Alliance parties abstained on the vote for Prime Minister in parliament afterwards, allowing Stefan Löfven to form government.

However a crisis soon emerged as the Sweden Democrats broke with parliamentary procedure during the budget vote in December. After their own shadow budget had been voted down they did not abstain on subsequent votes as is convention, but instead voted for the joint Alliance shadow budget, meaning that the budget that the Social Democratic-Green government had negotiated with the Left Party fell. With the Alliance parties refusing to re-negotiate the budget with the government, Prime Minister Löfven announced that he would call a snap election for March. However as it was only constitutionally possible to do so on the 29th of December it left some room between the announcement and when the official decision would be taken. As the parties looked at the polls, which only seemed to show the Sweden Democrats gaining and the Christian Democrats perilously close to the 4% threshold, the Alliance parties entered into quiet negotiations with the government, and on the 27th the December Agreement was presented.

The December Agreement made official the policy which the Alliance parties had ran on in the election; the largest minority of parties should be allowed to form government by the smaller bloc abstaining on the vote for Prime Minister, and also be allowed to pass its budget by the smaller bloc either abstaining or the various parties presenting separate budgets which wouldn't get more votes than the government's even together with the Sweden Democrats.

As anyone with half a brain should be able to tell, this didn't exactly endear the Alliance parties to their conservative base and only helped the Sweden Democrats in the polls as they could portray it as an establishment stitch-up and themselves as the only credible opposition party. Discontent grew during 2015, especially in the Moderates and the Christian Democrats, and the whole thing fell apart in the autumn as the Christian Democratic conference voted to leave the agreement, with Moderate leader Anna Kinberg Batra being quick to announce that if one Alliance party left the agreement it meant that all parties would do so. However even with the agreement officially gone the Alliance parties still continued to present separate shadow budgets, meaning that the government's budget could get through either way. Seemingly the only big difference after the agreement fell is that the Social Democrats are no longer bound to let an Alliance government and budget through if they get more support than the Red-Greens in the 2018 election.

After that whole mess politics have just carried on. In the wake of the 2015 refugee crisis migration policy was tightened down to the EU's minimum level, issues like law and order got increased focus, while a more prominent left-right conflict has reemerged as the Alliance parties moved rightward on issues like wages and worker's rights and the Social Democrats have moved to the left on welfare and economic issues. A leak in the Transport Agency this year lead to the resignation of two cabinet members after the Alliance threatened a vote of no confidence, however the Social Democrats could almost still be said to have come out as winners in that debacle as the Alliance made the strategic error of also calling for a confidence vote in Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist. Hultqvist only being peripherally involved with the scandal and well respected in defence circles, meant that Löfven was willing to put up a fight to keep him in the cabinet. Eventually the Alliance parties were forced to withdraw their no-confidence vote, which only made them look less competent.

A stronger economy and shrinking unemployment has also benefitted the government in the past year.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 03:47:12 pm by The Lord Marbury »Logged
The Lord Marbury
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« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2017, 07:47:04 am »

Here's rundown of the parties, with the latest polling average from pollofpolls.se included. ()=change from last year.

Social Democrats: 28.7% (+1.7)
2014 result: 31.0%

Sweden's traditional "party of government" which governed the country uninterrupted between 1936 and 1976. Has been in government since 2014 together with the Greens, participating in its first coalition since 1957, after spending its longest period out of government since the intruduction of universal suffrage during the eight years Fredrik Reinfeldt was Prime Minister from 2006 to 2014. Led by former union leader Stefan Löfven since 2012, who became the party's first leader to become Prime Minister without any prior cabinet (or parliamentary) experience. After a rough initial few years in government the party has seemed to bounce back during the past year, embracing more tough-on-crime rhetoric and policy in combination with somewhat of a shift to the left on issues regarding economics and welfare. Löfven has also seen his approval numbers increase somewhat as he has become more comfortable in his role as Prime Minister, with his response to the terror attack in Stockholm this April recieving praise.

Moderate Party: 22.4% (+0.2)
2014 result: 23.3%

Part of the centre-right coalition "The Alliance" since 2004 and Sweden's main rightwing party since the late 70s, the Moderates have had a rough few years in opposition. After the departure of Fredrik Reinfeldt, electorally the most successful leader the party has ever had, the party elected parliamentary group leader Anna Kinberg Batra as his successor. However her leadership was somewhat tarnished from the outset as she had participated in the negotiations of the December Agreement. After the agreement fell the Moderates saw increased support during 2016, but the numbers had begun to stagnate again towards the end of the year. In January of 2017 Anna Kinberg Batra made a spectacular gamble by announcing that the party was breaking the cordon sanataire around the Sweden Democrats by being willing to negotiate with them in parliament. However with the Liberals and Centre Party being vehemently opposed to working with the Sweden Democrats or form a government which would be dependent on them, the announcement also exposed a big divide among the Alliance. Afterwards the support for the Moderates dropped sharply, with a great deal of voters, especially in Stockholm, turning away from the Moderates and going to the Centre Party instead. The party dropped below the Sweden Democrats and hovered around 15%, the same result as the disastrous 2002 election. Anna Kinberg Batra faced heavy criticism internally, not necessarily because of the announcement, as a great deal of her critics had pushed her in that direction in the first place, but because of her lack of charisma and poor performance in debates and interviews. Eventually she was forced out and Ulf Kristersson, former Minister for Social Security and shadow finance minister under Kinberg Batra, became the new leader. Now things seem to have calmed down and the party is pretty much back where they were a year ago in the polls.

Sweden Democrats: 17.3% (-0.2)
2014 result: 12.9%

Sweden's far-right party, founded by neo-nazis (as well as some real nazis, including a former SS officer) in the late 80s, since 2005 it has been led by Jimmie Åkesson who has tried to turn the party into a more respectable movement. They refer to themselves as a centrist party (lol) but have clearly taken a shift to the right in the past few years, especially in terms of economic policy, as the leadership position themselves as a possible partner for the Moderates. Peaked in the polls during 2015 at the height of the refugee crisis and during the whole debate surrounding the December Agreement. Have since dropped back somewhat but are still above their 2014 election result.

Centre Party: 9.5% (+0.4)
2014 result: 6.1%

Like its sister parties in Finland and Norway, the Swedish Centre Party is traditionally an agrarian party sprung out of the farmer's movement, and was even called the Farmer's League up to the late 50s. While historically seen as the party on the right that was most capable of working with the Social Democrats at times, as it did in a coalition during the 50s and in budget negotiations during the mid-90s, under current leader Annie Lööf and her predecessor Maud Olofsson the party took a sharp turn rightwards and embraced the Alliance, with factions and parts of the youth league flirting with libertarianism. It's probably the most immigration-friendly party on the right, which meant that it has attracted former Moderates, generally in the Stockholm area, disappointed with the party's rightward shift after Reinfeldt's departure, as well as former Green voters. In most polls its leader Annie Lööf is the most popular party leader, just ahead of Löfven, and during the Moderate crisis this year it got as much as 13-14% in some polls. Though that's still a far-cry from the dizzying heights of 25% which the party reached during the 70s when it was the largest party on the right and its leader Thorbjörn Fälldin served as Prime Minister.

Left Party: 7.3% (-0.4)
2014 result: 5.7%

Sweden's former communist party, which broke away from the Social Democrats in 1917. Dropped communism with the end of the cold war and has generally tried to moderate itself since then and broaden its appeal by embracing feminism and environmentalism. Has been led by Jonas Sjöstedt, part of the party's moderate wing, since 2012. Was left out of government by Stefan Löfven in 2014, much to Sjöstedt's disappointment, but even so it has proven to be a bit of a blessing, as the party has benefitted in the polls by being the only opposition party to the left of the government, while it still gets some influence by negotiating the budget with the government.

Liberals: 5.1% (-0.4)
2014 result: 5.4%

What remains of the Liberal Coalition Party which was the main opposition to the conservatives during the early 1900s and introduced universal suffrage together with the Social Democrats during the 1910s. Led by Jan Björklund since 2007, the party had a strong focus on education during its years in government, with Björklund as Education Minister being especially associated with the issue. However poor results in international comparisons for the Swedish eduction system meant that their reputation in that area was tarnished and the party got its second worst result in history in the last election. Has struggled in opposition, with difficulties finding a niche while the Centre Party has attracted a great deal of liberal-minded voters. After attempts to focus on defence issues has failed to attract new voters the party now just seems directionless, and has entered a bit of a slow decline bringing it closer and closer to the 4% threshold. The party changing it's name from the Liberal People's Party (commonly referred to as the People's Party) to the Liberals in 2015 didn't do much of a difference either. Björklund was challenged for the leadership this year by Birgitta Ohlsson, from the party's more social liberal wing, however she withdrew her candidacy and has announced her departure from politics after finding insufficient support.

Greens: 3.9% (-0.8 )
2014 result: 6.9%

Entered into government for the first time in 2014 and has not had an easy time of things. After having to give up several pledges in negotiations with the Social Democrats, including pretty much their entire liberal immigration policy, they've gotten the image of being a bit of a joke. Led by two spokespersons, Education Minister Gustav Fridolin who's had the job since 2011 and Deputy PM/Minister for International Development and Climate Isabella Lövin who was elected in 2016, who also happen to be the two least popular party leaders. Has tried to shift focus back to environmental issues in the past year, but still hover around the 4% threshold with little sign of any improvement on the horizon.

Christian Democrats: 3.0% (-0.1)
2014 result: 4.6%

The smallest member of the Alliance, seemingly in constant danger of failing to meet the threshold and falling out of parliament. Led by Ebba Busch Thor since 2015, after focusing healthcare and pensioners during the government years, the party took a shift to the right after the election and tried to find a niche between the Moderates and Sweden Democrats as a more respectably tough-on-immigration and tough-on-crime party. However that strategy failed spectacularly as the Moderates also moved rightward and there was suddenly no room left there. Has recently tried to pivot back towards healthcare but with little success coming out of it, with Ebba Busch Thor's strong focus on law and order and immigration in the past years not exactly granting her a lot of credibility there. She's also far less charismatic and popular than her predecessor Göran Hägglund. The party has pretty much been below the 4% threshold in every poll since the election.

Feminist Initiative: 1.3% (-0.7)
2014 result: 3.1%

Sweden's 9th party, which gained more prominence after a great deal of debates around gender inequality in 2013 but failed to meet the threshold in the following year's election. Founded and led by Gudrun Schyman, formerly the leader of the Left Party between 1992 and 2003, the party has carved out its own little niche as a socially liberal and left-leaning party with it's strongest support coming from younger people in larger cities. While it didn't enter the Riksdag in the last election, the party is present in several municipal assemblies, including Stockholm where its part of the governing majority together with the Social Democrats, Greens and Left.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 04:02:29 pm by The Lord Marbury »Logged
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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2018, 01:28:59 pm »

Is there 2014 deal to keep out SD still on?  I thought I read somewhere that M will back out of that deal after the election.  I could be totally wrong.
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2018, 02:30:32 pm »

No, Decemberöverenskommelsen (DÖ i.e. In english DIE) was killed by the Christian Democrats in 2016.

However both L and C has said that they do not want to govern with the support off SD. So The Alliance (M, L, C and KD) needs to become larger than the left-green (S, MP and V) for a shift off guvernement.
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Swedish Austerity Cheese
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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2018, 02:32:08 pm »

Is there 2014 deal to keep out SD still on?  I thought I read somewhere that M will back out of that deal after the election.  I could be totally wrong.

If you're talking about the December Agreement (decemberöverenskommelsen), in which the government and the four Alliance parties agreed not to block the budget of a sitting minority government with the help of the Sweden Democrats, the Christian Democrats backed out of that deal followed by the Moderates and the rest of the Alliance in 2015, less than a year after the parties agreed to it. So that deal is dead and buried a long time ago.

The informal "cordon sanitaire" against the Sweden Democrats are more or less still in force, none of the other parliamentary would go into coalition with them, but the Moderates and Christian Democrats have said that they're open to cooperating with them on certain issues and in some places on the local level there have been some cooperation. Most notably in Hässleholm, a small city in   southern Sweden, the Social Democratic mayor was ousted in favour of a Moderate one in favour of the Moderates supporting a Sweden Democratic politician for Deputy Mayor.1

The Centre Party and the Liberals have been very critical of the Moderates2 move towards the Sweden Democrats which has strained the relationship between the parties a lot.

1) The Sweden Democrat resigned shortly thereafter due to scandal when it was discovered he had cheated the city out of money and was instead replaced by a Christian Democrat...

2) If you're wondering why no one has bothered to criticize the Christian Democrats, it's because no one cares about them or take them seriously.   
« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 02:46:42 pm by Swedish Austerity Cheese »Logged

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The Lord Marbury
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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2018, 02:43:54 pm »

Three of the defectors from SD, Hanna Wigh, Pavel Gamov and Margareta Larsson are forming their own political group in parliament, in order to better manage parliamentary work and seek financial support. They probably won't run in the election and even if they did it likely wouldn't make any impact, but the most interesting thing about this is the name they chose: Sveriges partipolitiskt oberoende lista (Sweden's Non-Partisan List), with the abbreviation SVPOL, which also happens to be the hashtag for talk about Swedish politics on Twitter.

If that isn't 100% intentional I'll drown myself in the river.
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« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2018, 02:54:58 pm »

Why did they defect from SD?
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« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2018, 03:32:33 pm »

Why did they defect from SD?

They defected for different reasons.

Margareta Larsson (who also happens to be party leader Jimmy Åkessons mother-in-law) defected as a protest against what she felt was a too controlling party leadership and lack of democracy with-in the party itself.

Hanna Wigh defected after she was sexually assaulted by another MP for the Swedish Democrats and the party hushed down the incident.

Pavel Gamov didn't defect as much as he was thrown out by the leadership due to a scandalous trip to Moscow (most likely paid for by the Russian government) where he got so awfully drunk it wasn't even acceptable by Russian standards, threatening and assaulting a female party member who was also in Moscow. Which sort of make Hanna Wigh teaming up with him... weird.     

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« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2018, 05:18:46 pm »

How likely do you think it is the Alliance can return to power?  Also with thresholds, do you see parties on either side missing them as if the Christian Democrats make it but Greens miss it that would seem to favour the Alliance whereas Christian Democrats miss it and Greens make it favour the Alliance.  While social democracy is not in quite the crisis it is in much of the rest of Europe (UK and Portugal perhaps being the exceptions and only in Portugal are they well ahead), its nowhere nearly as dominant in the Nordic Countries as it was in the past.  Do you see Nordic voters moving rightwards?
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« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2018, 06:12:37 pm »

How likely do you think it is the Alliance can return to power?  Also with thresholds, do you see parties on either side missing them as if the Christian Democrats make it but Greens miss it that would seem to favour the Alliance whereas Christian Democrats miss it and Greens make it favour the Alliance.  While social democracy is not in quite the crisis it is in much of the rest of Europe (UK and Portugal perhaps being the exceptions and only in Portugal are they well ahead), its nowhere nearly as dominant in the Nordic Countries as it was in the past.  Do you see Nordic voters moving rightwards?


Swedish democrat voters are going towards the M and SocialDemocrats. Because both parties have slowly adopting some of the immigration rhetoric.  Even the Prime minister despite being from a party that was so opposed to SD has said the immigration policy in sweden in the last two decades was a mistake and afterwards instead of it backfiring he actually gained support mainly from those Social Democrat voters while despite what people predicted he didn't lose any support to the other left wing parties.
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« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2018, 07:29:31 pm »

Are KD doomed, or are they the sort of party that has Avery resilient core?
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« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2018, 02:40:48 am »

The Christian Democrats always "borrows" votes from the Moderaterna every election. I.e. tactical voting from moderate voters. However this time Moderaterna has less voters to "lend".

So we will se that the Christian Democrats slowly gets closer to 4 % this year. However they might not pass the threshold at 4% in the end.

I many Swedish communes (and cities) the threshold is instead 2%. So you migh split you vote voting for Christian Democrats to the Riksdag but Modteraterna at the local level.
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« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2018, 07:57:05 am »

The Christian Democrats always "borrows" votes from the Moderaterna every election. I.e. tactical voting from moderate voters. However this time Moderaterna has less voters to "lend".

So we will se that the Christian Democrats slowly gets closer to 4 % this year. However they might not pass the threshold at 4% in the end.

I many Swedish communes (and cities) the threshold is instead 2%. So you migh split you vote voting for Christian Democrats to the Riksdag but Modteraterna at the local level.


You would think the same would end up happening between Social Democrats and the Greens, no? In which case, taking a punt, it would seem both parties wing up over the threshold?

Also, seeing as Feminist Initiative are basically down and out, could their remaining support flow towards the Greens?
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« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2018, 11:21:21 am »

When I was handing out ballot papers in the last election the Feminist Initiative representative told the voters to vote for the left party or the greens at the regional level were they did not stand so there is a clear tactical voting between these three parties. However the Feminist Initiative  is not dead and has got 1,5% in the polls so I don not think that there votes will got to the Greens. I do not think that social democratic voters will tactically vote for the Greens.
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« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2018, 01:12:52 pm »

I think Feminist Initiative's chances of passing the threshold are pretty slim unless something unexpected happens that throw them into the spot-light before the election. They do however have a small vocal and very loyal core that will stay with them through thick and thin and who won't abandon them to cast a tactical vote for the government, which although preferred compared to the right-wing parties are not popular among the urban idealistic left-wing youth. Think of them as Jill Stein voting Berniecrats, the government as Hillary Clinton, the Alliance as Jeb Bush and the Sweden Democrats as Trump and you get the dynamic.

Social Democrats voting tactically for the Greens is a very likely scenario though. It already happened in 2002. 
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« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2018, 07:25:21 pm »

The Christian Democrats have been hovering around the threshold for the past two elections, but they've never spent as much time below the threshold in polls as during the last term. While they've usually counted on Moderate voters saving them, a number of political scientists have said that there's usually a limit for when people are willing to support another party to bring them over a threshold. If Kd are polling close to or around 4% near the election they'll likely be saved, but if they are closer to 3% people may be turned away, too afraid of their vote not mattering if they give it to a party that'll end up outside of parliament.

Out of the two I would say the Greens are more likely to make it above the threshold, both because they haven't polled quite as badly as Kd during the term and can likely count on some Social Democratic support voters, and because they're still the most trusted party on environmental issues according to the polls. If there's some unexpected event that puts the environment into focus during the campaign the Greens could stand to benefit, while Kd which have begun to (re-)focus more on elderly care and healthcare recently, they face tougher competition from the Social Democrats, the Sweden Democrats, and to some extent the Left Party.

If the Liberals also continue their slow decline and start to wobble around the threshold close to the election it would be detrimental to Kd, as potential support voters from the Moderates would be split between which party to led their support to, and I strongly suspect that Kd would lose that fight.

Regarding FI, I agree with the poster above that they have a core base that'll likely won't vote for any other party. However if they're far from the threshold close to the election, which I suspect they will be, all but their most convinced supporters will likely turn to other parties. Possibly the Greens, though their stint in government may decrease those chances, but likely the Left and under some circumstances I think that the Centre Party could pick up a few former FI supporters. Not because of any similarities in their position on the left/right-axis, but because I believe a not-so insiginificant number of FI voters mostly support them because of cultural issues and could therefore come to support the Centre Party under Annie Lööf.
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« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2018, 07:30:37 am »

What's the rationale for lending support to Kd versus trying to consolidate Kd support into the other Alliance parties? Does Kd attract a different element of society that may not vote for M or L?
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« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2018, 08:27:16 am »

What's the rationale for lending support to Kd versus trying to consolidate Kd support into the other Alliance parties? Does Kd attract a different element of society that may not vote for M or L?

If not would not the Kd vote be wasted from the point of view of a Center-Right alliance ?
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« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2018, 01:07:16 pm »

I assume many of those 3% who currently support Kd would support Alliance parties if Kd is excluded - I'm wondering whether this is true. Are Kd important enough in some regions to survive with no national representation, or would their supporters transfer to non-Alliance parties, or would they stay home? I assume the answer is one of those three, but I don't know which.

(Edit: I've thought of a fourth possible reason. Maybe there are tactical advantages for M to a conservative party in the alliance, balancing the two liberal parties. I had thought there would be a clear tactical advantage to having a three-party instead of four-party coalition, but thinking about the lessons of game theory between two blocs, I'm no longer so sure.)
« Last Edit: January 05, 2018, 01:09:24 pm by EPG »Logged
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« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2018, 03:29:25 am »

They will mostly stay with KD. KD is very strong at the local level especially in Jönköping, "little Jerusalem" and the swedish bible belt i.e. Småland. Even if KD just gets 3% they will survive in the long term. Their youth wing tries to be the swedish republicans and their former leader Sara Skyttedal claims to be the bluest swedish politican.
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« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2018, 09:23:06 am »

What's the rationale for lending support to Kd versus trying to consolidate Kd support into the other Alliance parties? Does Kd attract a different element of society that may not vote for M or L?

If not would not the Kd vote be wasted from the point of view of a Center-Right alliance ?

I'm guessing part of their support would disperse, but there would still be 1-2% of the population who are committed Christians and presumably would care more about supporting KD than making sure the Alliance wins.
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