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S (Social Democrats)   -43 (25.7%)
M (Moderate)   -18 (10.8%)
SD (Swedish Democrats)   -46 (27.5%)
C (Centre)   -9 (5.4%)
MP (Green)   -7 (4.2%)
V (Left)   -28 (16.8%)
L (Liberals)   -6 (3.6%)
KD (Christian Democrats)   -5 (3%)
FI (Feminist)   -1 (0.6%)
Other   -4 (2.4%)
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Total Voters: 167

Author Topic: Swedish election, 2018: Political Impasse, Löfven loses confidence vote  (Read 50842 times)
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
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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
The Lord Marbury
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« Reply #2 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 #3 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 #4 on: June 16, 2018, 12:57:08 pm »

In other anti-semitism news Björn Söder, 2nd Deputy Speaker of the Riksdag and former Party Secretary of the Sweden Democrats decided to open his mouth (well, technically his facebook account) and talk a bit about Jews and Swedishness again. After all, it went so well when he did it back in 2014.

Quote
"Annie Lööf belittles the status of Jews and Sami in Sweden when she indirectly claims that they are Swedes. These groups have minority statuses in Sweden just because they are not Swedes. Be ashamed, Annie Lööf, for your racist attitude." - Björn Söder

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The Lord Marbury
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« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2018, 11:26:36 am »

In other anti-semitism news Björn Söder, 2nd Deputy Speaker of the Riksdag and former Party Secretary of the Sweden Democrats decided to open his mouth (well, technically his facebook account) and talk a bit about Jews and Swedishness again. After all, it went so well when he did it back in 2014.

Quote
"Annie Lööf belittles the status of Jews and Sami in Sweden when she indirectly claims that they are Swedes. These groups have minority statuses in Sweden just because they are not Swedes. Be ashamed, Annie Lööf, for your racist attitude." - Björn Söder
Not a smart issue to talk about right before an election. That said, I don't think it was antisemitic. I followed the controversy, and his argument was that Sweden (essentially like Russia) is a multicultural society that comprises multiple peoples: the Swedish nation, but also Jews and Sami. According to this line of reasoning Jews and Sami are equally Swedish in terms of citizenship but are distinct peoples with a right to their own culture and heritage, together making up Sweden. Not recognizing this would essentially force these minorities into the Swedish mold.

One can agree or disagree with this. I am on the fence, and I understand why many Jews would dislike the perception of their Swedishness being questioned. I certainly would feel awkward if the Dutch right started talking about this subject. However, I don't think it is antisemitic, as I think Söder meant to say what I outlined in the above paragraph.

Of course you can decide what you feel is anti-semitic and what isn't, though Willy Silberstein (President of the Swedish Committee Against Anti-Semitism, 2009-2017) certainly didn't feel the same.
https://www.aftonbladet.se/debatt/a/21edj4/jo-bjorn-soder--jag-ar-bade-jude-och-svensk
Quote
It feels almost degrading to have to argue for my "Swedishness".

I was born at the general birthing centre in Norrköping. I have done military service for Sweden. I have paid tax for about four decades. I cry a little during midsummer because everything is so beautiful and fleeting.

Even so, I'm not Swedish according to Björn Söder.

Will he in the long run want me to leave Sweden?

I do not think so. But I'm quite frustrated why a leading politician, in addition to that a Speaker, devotes so much effort to spreading that I and other Jews and Sami are not Swedes.

[...]

It is a fact that it was Nazis who founded the Swedish Democrats.

One of the founders was Gustaf Ekström. Some examples from his CV:
-Joined Swedish National Socialist Party in 1932
-Volunteer in Waffen-SS
-At the age of 81, founded the Sweden Democrats
-Gustaf Ekström said, among other things, that talk about Nazi concentration camps was war   propaganda

This anti-semite was the founder of the Sweden Democrats. Today, in 2018, a leading representative of the same party, Speaker Björn Söder, says that I, as a Jew, is not Swedish.

Björn Söder is thus keeping alive an old, anti-semitic view of us Jews.

It is a pity for our beautiful country, Sweden, that he is a Speaker and thus represents Sweden, including in international events.

It's also worth to note that Söder extended the same sentiment towards Tornedalians, which resulted in the Minister for Rural Affairs Sven-Erik Bucht (a Tornedalian) angrily calling out Söder's statement as "ing bullsh**t" (rough translation), and saying that he saw no problem at all with being both Swedish and Tornedalian. Söder once again doubled down on his original statement when responding to Bucht's comments.

This whole talk about "nations" seems to boil down to nothing more than ethnicity as a defining factor; those who Söder see as a part of the Swedish nation are those who are ethnically Swedish but what meaning does that actually have, perhaps beyond genetic markers which would purely be of scientific interest? If he just defines a Swede as someone who can be considered to be ethnically Swedish, thus meaning that no person with a background which isn't 100% ethnically Swedish could ever be considered Swedish, that's pretty much the textbook definition of racism.

Also, given that the Torne Valley has been a part of Sweden for at the very least 200 years longer than Scania (which Söder comes from), one could argue that any random Tornedalian is far more closer to being Swedish than Björn Söder could ever hope to be, going by his own logic.
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« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2018, 11:57:06 am »

If SAP do badly and if the rural/urban trends seen a lot nowadays manifest themselves in Sweden, could we see the solid red north of Sweden start to turn blue or yellow?

That is the region with the least immigrants and refugees, so it shouldn't be fertile ground for SD.

In both the 2010 and 2014 elections the Sweden Democrats saw their largest increases in support in municipalities which had the largest unemployment figures, there were no real connection seen between a large number of immigrants/refugees and increased support for SD, so I wouldn't read too much into that.

That being said, in the north the Social Democratic and union organisations are generally stronger compared to the rest of the country, and class based/tribal voting is still far stronger than down south so I expect S to hold their ground up there, at least in this election. If anything, they should be real worried about losing votes to the Left Party instead, especially in places like Västernorrland where cuts to health care and hospitals by S-led county administrations have had a harsh impact.

So harsh in fact that Stefan Löfven was placed at the top of the Social Democratic list for the Riksdag in Västernorrland because the local party fears a total hammering due to cuts to maternity care at Sollefteå hospital.

SD also suffers up north because they still have so few competent local politicians that have managed to make a name for themselves, and they've also suffered from several defections during the term, as well as "empy chairs", where they've won seats on municipal councils but have been unable to fill them. One such example is from my own home town where they won two seats on the municipal council but both were left vacant from the start. Partly because they only had one (1) candidate on the ballot, and party because he was a resident of another municipality and thus couldn't take his seat. Eventually they managed to fill the seat for a few months or so, until the person they brought in just gave up and left. There are also numerous examples of local SD organisations failing to even present a budget proposal, which is one of the most basic duties that a party in the municipal council has. In the cases they do you end up with situations like in Luleå where the local SD chapter just straight up copied the budget proposal from the Sweden Democrats in Lund. That certainly caused a lot of confusion and laughs among the other parties, as you suddenly had SD council members of a northern town proposing significant investments in rural Scania.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2018, 12:00:29 pm by The Lord Marbury »Logged
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« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2018, 03:57:37 pm »

Thank you for your elaborate response. I very much empathize with Silberstein's line of reasoning. The point about SD's background is less relevant to me (though obviously Ekström was a criminal and any foreign Waffen-SS volunteer returning to his country of origin should have been shot upon arrival), but I definitely understand it is painful for Swedish Jews to have their Swedishness questioned.

Using ethnicity as a defining factor does not necessarily mean one has to be 100% Swedish to be considered part of the Swedish nation, I think, and I don't think Söder is arguing this either. However, going into the specifics of this obviously gets extremely problematic, as you don't want to end up on your way to Nuremberg. But the idea of ethnicity being a relevant aspect (though not the only aspect, and not necessarily the decisive aspect) to one's national identity stands, I think.

This discussion does seem to be the consequence of Sweden's immigration policy, as a consequence of which the point where immigrants would be expected to fully integrate into Swedish society has long been passed and a community-based approach is adopted instead. Ordinary people are inevitably going to differentiate between Swedes and "foreigners with a Swedish passport" who do not adhere to Swedish cultural norms at all and might not even self-identify as Swedish. Then the question becomes: where do you draw the line? Who's in and who's out? Pretty pointless to start talking about Jews, Sami and Tornedalians in this context, though.

From my point of view this whole talk about Swedishness just seems like a waste of time. Instead of getting bogged down in vague cultural matters which would be incredibly difficult to legislate I just prefer this simple definition:

1) Do you have a Swedish citizenship?
-If yes:
2) Do you feel Swedish?
-If yes:
Then you are Swedish.
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« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2018, 06:29:41 am »

Well no, he'd clearly be a Finland-Swede and they're a separate minority in their own right. Though a Finland-Swede with a Swedish citizenship who identifies as Swedish would definitely be both Swedish and Finland-Swedish. Just like a Finland-Swede with a Finnish citizenship who identifies as Finnish would be both Finnish and Finland-Swedish.

That's the only definition I can see as remotely reasonable from a legal standpoint.
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« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2018, 03:28:51 pm »

Well no, he'd clearly be a Finland-Swede and they're a separate minority in their own right. Though a Finland-Swede with a Swedish citizenship who identifies as Swedish would definitely be both Swedish and Finland-Swedish. Just like a Finland-Swede with a Finnish citizenship who identifies as Finnish would be both Finnish and Finland-Swedish.

That's the only definition I can see as remotely reasonable from a legal standpoint.
Freudenthal didn't identify as Finland-Swede, in fact much of his work was aimed at proving that Finland's Swedes weren't Finns (in ethnic sense) but part of Swedish nation.

To me it seems absurd to mix ethnicity with legal concept of citizenship and to deny someones ethnic identity just because they don't hold certain citizenship.

(Apologies for the late reply)

Except I'm not trying to deny someone's ethnic identity, I was just making a point that an elected official and representative of Sweden (in his role as Deputy Speaker) like Björn Söder (who's statements the discussion was about) should not be concerned with any other definition of Swedishness than the purely legal one. Basing public policy on any vague definition beyond that is pure lunacy in my book, something which numerous politicians' obsessions with phrenology in the early parts of the 20th century definitively proved.

Other than that people are certainly free to identify as Swedish on an individual level if they wish to do so, even if they don't have a Swedish citizenship. For that matter Swedish citizens are certainly free to not identify as Swedish either, after all there are definitely several Sami and members of other minorities who feel that way, but again the point is that it is up to them alone to decide whether or not they identify as Swedish; not Björn Söder or anyone else.

The two largest "tabloids" i.e. evening papers are 1) Aftonbladet, socialdemocratic (very close to the party, almost like Pravda) and 2) Expressen, liberal

Oh come on, Aftonbladet is no more of a Pravda to the Social Democrats than Expressen is to the Liberals or Svenska Dagbladet is to the Moderates. While LO may still own a tiny minority share of Aftonbladet, to insinuate that they have any direct control over the editorial process or any influence over the news published whilst comparing them to a party mouthpiece accomplishes nothing but showing off your own partisanship.

Some "interesting" comments by FI candidate Oldoz Javidi, who thinks Israel should be ethnically cleansed of Jews, who, according to her, should move to the U.S. A very "anti-racist" party indeed Roll Eyes Perhaps they can merge with an organization with the same opinion of Jews. Nordic Resistance comes to mind. FI might come a little closer to reaching the electoral threshold if they do so.

Fortunately she withdrew her candidacy after FI's leadership came out against her and urged her to step down. Even so I don't suspect that this will do much damage to FI either; they're so far down in the polls already that they'd be lucky to just hold on to their base. I'm guessing that they'll end up somewhere around 1% on election day.

The S+Green government is very unpopular already and now even has to explain to voters why they are shoving billions of kronas down the throats of immigrants and trying to integrate them, while at the same time having purchased no (= zero) aircraft to combat the virulent wildfires in the country. There have been wildfires already in 2014, but the Red-Green government didn't buy anything in that regard.

It's better to spend the money on immigrants from Africa and the Middle-East of course ... Roll Eyes

Would you be so kind as to link to the parliamentary vote where MPs decided to cut back on emergency services in order to pay for immigration? If unable to do so, could you kindly point to some evidence of political parties pledging to invest more in emergency services rather than follow ideological commitments to either cut taxes or spend more on healthcare and aid to the unemployed, prior to the spike in migration in 2015?

Just because a certain cost could've been lower doesn't mean that politicians would've prioritized things that wouldn't have had a lot of political payoff at the time, compared to the ideological committments they were elected on. Difficult concept to grasp, I know. Roll Eyes

Though regarding aircraft for fighting fires, Sweden actually rented two such planes during the 1990s whilst evaluating them, but the investigator came to the conclusion that buying them and maintaining them on a regular basis would come at too high a cost to justify as major forest fires in Sweden were (and still are) relatively rare. Instead it was considered more cost effective to rely on European partners in the event of forest fires of that size. Not unreasonable considering that in the 2010s only this year and 2014 have had fires of such a magnitude that planes were required. However now the idea of Sweden, Norway and Finland jointly buying and maintaining such planes have been raised, most recently by the leaders of the three countries' Green parties, and that idea may be seen as more appealing by the penny pinchers at the Ministry of Finance.
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« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2018, 04:47:43 am »

Here's a pretty useful image from pollofpolls.se

It showcases the systematic overestimation or underestimation of several parties from various pollsters, in comparison to the polling average.
Img


Good to see that most of Center's virtual gains have evaporated. Also interesting - though not in a positive sense - that AfS could be around 1% only. This seems to be going nowhere.

Why is V gaining so much? Something with the fires?

V has been slowly ticking upwards for several months now, due to various factors. Partly its due to the drop in the support for the Social Democrats, with the gains really taking off when S presented the strict immigration policy the party would run on back in early May. The failure of FI to take off has also mainly benefited V. However the party has been gaining slowly for the past few years, in thanks to the benefitial position of being an opposition party which can criticize the government, while at the same time negotiating the budget with the government and getting influence over policy.

V has been pretty good strategists in these negotiations as well, by pushing for some things which may not be that expensive (benefits for glasses for children, free public transport for teens during the summer, etc) but are easily understood by voters and easy to communicate for the party. They've been pretty good at taking credit for all the good, popular things in the budgets, whilst criticizing S and MP for the bad things and for saying no to their demands of higher taxes for the very rich.

Jonas Sjöstedt is also pretty charismatic by Swedish standards, coming across as a very sympathetic and likable person in interviews and TV appearances. He's definitely one of the best performing party leaders in debates as well, if not the best at times, which doesn't hurt either.
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« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2018, 05:55:00 pm »

Do V aim to participate in government one day?

They definitely wish to participate in the government nowadays. Of course back in their communist days they weren't interested and even had it as official policy never to bring down a Social Democratic government even though the Social Democrats refused to negotiate with them over any policy matter, simply because the alternative was considered worse.

This started to change in the 1980s as the party moved in a more Eurocommunist direction, with the party changing its stance in practice for the first time in 1990 when they voted down the Carlsson government's "crisis package" meant to cool down the then-overheated Swedish economy with measures including wage freezes and a temporary ban on strikes which the Left couldn't stomach. Other measures in the package also angered the right, so this marked the first time ever that V (or Vpk as it was known back then) had voted to bring down a Social Democratic government together with the right.

After the 1994 election after they had dropped the communism from their name and their constitution, they got to participate in budget negotiations for the first time. Even though S dropped them for C later in the term, the dissatisfaction with the S government's budget cuts propelled them to their best result ever, with 12% of the vote in the 1998 election. Even so, afterwards there was never any talk of joining the government and the party quite happily settled for influence over the budget and other bills, knowing that their votes would be required in cases where the right was united and S would have to negotiate. The deal with S got a little closer after the 2002 election, though mostly as a result of demands from the Greens. When S were unwilling to give the Greens cabinet seats, they reached a deal wherein Green advisors would be given positions within the S government, and V demanded the same deal but were never a driving force in those negotiations.

The party's attitude to participating in a government changed a lot during the following years, with it at least being discussed during the 2006 election, and when the Social Democrats and the Greens formed an alliance in 2008 Lars Ohly and V were quick to go out and criticize them and demand to be included. Which they eventually were because of internal left-flank pressure within the Social Democrats against Mona Sahlin, demanding their inclusion. Of course the Red-Green coalition were unsuccessful in the 2010 election, but it opened the floodgates and now V are openly talking about participating in a government. Sjöstedt famously held a press conference whilst visibly angry and upset after the 2014 election when Stefan Löfven had point blank told him that they would not get cabinet seats. That year, for the first time ever, they didn't vote for a Social Democratic candidate for PM in parliament, but rather chose to abstain.

This election they're not placing as much emphasis on participating in government as they did in 2014, but it's no question that they want to do so. However the experience that they've seen the Greens undergo in government may have made them a little more wary, but under the right circumstances they would definitely go for it. Jonas Sjöstedt has even said that they would be willing to participate in (or work with) a government which included the Centre or Liberal parties, something which would be considered a complete impossibility only 10 years ago.
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« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2018, 06:09:18 am »

With the parliamentary elections not being the only elections were having in 13 days, I thought I'd post some municipal polls as well.

Starting off in my now former home, Novus has conducted a poll of the municipal election in Umeå, the largest city in northern Sweden.
Let's just say that the city didn't get the nickname "Red Umeå" for no reason. One might be tempted to see this as Jonas Sjöstedt-effect, given that Umeå is the home of the Left Party leader, but it's quite possible that it has more to do with local issues. From 2010 to 2014 the Social Democrats and Left held a majority on the council together, but in 2014 they went their separate ways and S formed a majority together with the Greens and the four Alliance parties. The Left has had a pretty benefitial position, being the biggest opposition party and was thus able to oppose unpopular policies like cuts to preschools and elderly care or the sale of 1600 municipal-owned flats (including student housing) to a Norwegian venture capitalist.

Also, given the new 3% threshold the three smallest parties would fail to get any seats according to this poll. Meaning that with the exit of the Worker's Party, Umeå won't have any trotskyists on its city council for the first time since 1998. 'Tis truly the end of an era.

Novus poll, Umeå municipal election
Social Democrats: 31.6% (-5.2)
Left: 18.8% (+5.7)
Moderate: 15.4% (-0.9)
Centre: 8.4% (+2.5)
Liberals: 7.5% (+1.4)
Sweden Democrats: 6.3% (+3.1)
Greens: 5.7% (-1.7)
Worker’s: 2.1% (-0.6)
Christian Democrats: 2.0% (-1.9)
Feminist Initiative: 1.2% (-2.7)


Meanwhile in my new home, Gothenburg, things are even weirder. Pretty much the entire political spectrum has been turned on its head by populist parties founded in opposition to the controversial railyway project Västlänken (the West Link) and the congestion charge implemented as part of an agreement in 2009 with the government to partially fund the West Link (and other parts of the West Swedish package, including new bridges and road tunnels), alongside money coming from the national budget.
The latest populist party, the Democrats, led and founded by former Moderate Martin Wannholt who was joined by a few Social Democrats and Greens who all had the common denominator of being held back from advancement in their own parties, currently looks like it's leading in the polls. However as the party didn't run in the 2014 election it has to both pay for ballots and be responsible for distributing them to the various polling places around the city, which could depress its numbers somewhat since it's likely they won't be able to get ballots to every polling station. Sure, people can write in the party if it's ballots aren't there, but there's a pretty good chance that some just wouldn't bother with that and just go for another party instead.

Sifo poll, Gothenburg municipal election
Democrats: 18.9% (new party)
Moderate: 16.7% (-5.6)
Left: 14.6% (+5.2)
Social Democrats: 14.2% (-8.2)
Sweden Democrats: 9.9% (+2.9)
Liberals: 6.8% (-1.3)
Greens: 5.6% (-5.1)
Centre: 4.2% (+2.0)
Feminist Initiative: 3.2% (-0.8 )
Vägvalet (Road Choice): 2.2% (-2.7)
Christian Democrats: 2.0% (-2.0)


Pro-West Link (Left, S+V+MP+FI): 37.6%
Pro-West Link (Right, M+L+C+KD): 29.7%
Anti-West Link (D+SD+VV): 31.0%

Also, since the last election Gothenburg has merged its four constituencies used for municipal elections into one city-wide constituency, meaning that the threshold is at 2% rather than 3, and VV and KD would therefore get in (if only barely) if these numbers were replicated on election day. A bare majority consisting of the Democrats, Moderates, Liberals, Centre, Road Choice and Christian Democrats would technically be possible under such circumstances. However considering that the Democrats raison d'etre is their opposition to the West Link, the question is how hell such a majority would solve the West Link issue when construction has already started and it's part of deal to get government funding for other important projects which are less controversial and desperately needed. So chaos it is, then.

Finally in Stockholm, things are looking somewhat more calm. The leftwing parties are going against historical trends by being stronger in Stockholm than the rest of the country (though not due to any strong performance from the Social Democrats), while if this result were to be replicated on election day the Moderates would get their worst municipal election result in 48 years in the nation's capital. Stockholm still has multiple constituencies, so the threshold is at 3%, but if the Feminist Initiative, Christian Democrats or both got slightly more on election day it could either mean a continued Red-Green-Pink majority or a slightly larger Alliance in a council with a Red-Green(-Pink) plurality.

Novus poll, Stockholm municipal election
Moderate: 22.1% (-5.1)
Social Democrats: 21.7% (-0.3)
Left: 13.1% (+4.2)
Greens: 11.1% (-3.2)
Liberals: 9.0% (+0.7)
Sweden Democrats: 8.3% (+3.1)
Centre: 7.3% (+2.6)
Feminist Initiative: 2.9% (-1.7)
Christian Democrats: 2.8% (-0.5)


I currently don't have any numbers for Malmö.
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« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2018, 01:52:21 pm »

TV4/Sifo poll: "Which of the following parties do you not want see in a government after the election?"
Liberals: 12%
Centre: 14%
Moderate: 17%
Social Democrats: 19%
Christian Democrats: 27%
Left: 34%
Greens: 37%
Feminist Initiative: 46%
Sweden Democrats: 59%
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« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2018, 12:23:49 am »

A representative of the Danish public broadcaster DR said they would never make such a statement to dissociate themselves from a politician making such a statement.

There's a big difference between DR and SVT.

SVT was fined by the Broadcasting Authority last year for failing to distance themselves from a similarly racist comment by another Sweden Democrat, Mattias Karlsson, made in a debate in Aktuellt. So with that in mind, it's understandable why they acted as they did on Friday, they simply want to avoid getting fined again.

SVT's broadcasting permit includes what is referred to as a "democracy paragraph", which reads roughly as follows: "[SVT] has an obligation to distance themselves from or respond to anti-democratic expressions and combat racial prejudice, violence and brutality"
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« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2018, 01:57:03 am »

A representative of the Danish public broadcaster DR said they would never make such a statement to dissociate themselves from a politician making such a statement.

There's a big difference between DR and SVT.

SVT was fined by the Broadcasting Authority last year for failing to distance themselves from a similarly racist comment by another Sweden Democrat, Mattias Karlsson, made in a debate in Aktuellt. So with that in mind, it's understandable why they acted as they did on Friday, they simply want to avoid getting fined again.

SVT's broadcasting permit includes what is referred to as a "democracy paragraph", which reads roughly as follows: "[SVT] has an obligation to distance themselves from or respond to anti-democratic expressions and combat racial prejudice, violence and brutality"

How ridiculous is that ?? ??

Even "Radio Sweden", SVT's sister radio station, reports the following:

Quote
"The country's new arrivals have the country's highest unemployment rate."

Quote
In Gävleborg, unemployment among home-grown people has fallen to low 4.9 percent. However, among foreigners, the situation is the opposite, 35 percent or more than every third-born person is out of work.

"It is tougher for the one who is born abroad to enter the labor market, than it is for a Swedish.

According to Jeannette Radstake-Gustavsson, Managing Director at the Employment Service in Gävle. And a job - yes, that's what the newcomer to Sweden needs most of all.

The job gives not only income but also language skills and insights into Swedish customs and practice. But getting that job is not easy at all - says Zinah Al-Daloo in Gävle who really tried:

"It's really hard to find a job - I'm struggling a lot with every day! I'm from another country, I speak a different language and look different, it's really hard to seek a job, she says.

https://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=99&artikel=7036815

So, "Radio Sweden" is allowed to post a full article stating the obvious facts on their website, but Jimmie Åkesson is not allowed to do so in a debate because of some dubious politically correct "democracy paragraph" ?

"They are not Swedish, they do not belong here"

There are no facts involved in that statement. It's racism, plain and simple.

Usually SD are good at hiding their racism in debates and speeches, but Åkesson really showed their true colours there.
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« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2018, 02:34:12 am »

I am Swedish, I watched the debate on friday and understood what he said perfectly well, so I don't need it explained to me by you or anyone else thank you very much.

He said that the reason immigrants don't get jobs is because they're not Swedish, because they don't belong. Then, when Annie Lööf and other party leaders reacted to his blatant racism he tried to walk it back by talking about language education and all that other stuff, but it doesn't change what he said.

Just like Mattias Karlsson's talk about "hundreds of thousands of rapists coming here" and Richard Jomshof's talk about how they have to moderate their rhetoric for the moment because "Sweden isn't Hungary - yet", it shows just what kind of party SD is.
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« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2018, 03:23:44 am »

I am Swedish, I watched the debate on friday and understood what he said perfectly well, so I don't need it explained to me by you or anyone else thank you very much.

He said that the reason immigrants don't get jobs is because they're not Swedish, because they don't belong. Then, when Annie Lööf and other party leaders reacted to his blatant racism he tried to walk it back by talking about language education and all that other stuff, but it doesn't change what he said.

Just like Mattias Karlsson's talk about "hundreds of thousands of rapists coming here" and Richard Jomshof's talk about how they have to moderate their rhetoric for the moment because "Sweden isn't Hungary - yet", it shows just what kind of party SD is.

While the SD's talk about immigrants often gets too excessive and extreme, in essence, he's right about what he says about many immigrants who recently arrived and how far removed they are from Swedish culture.

You are really disputing the fact that because of the 100.000s of additional immigrants from Africa and the Middle-East, rapes did not increase in Sweden by a lot ? You dispute the fact that immigrants from these areas now account for 80% of rape suspects these days ? You dispute the fact that these raped Swedish women would be un-raped now if these immigrants would have been kept out of the country in the first place ?

Please WAKE UP for once and stop tolerating these abuses to the Swedish people.

I actually prefer listening to researchers and experts rather than raving populists and racists. Like criminologists who actually who actually work with these issues and know far more about than some random guy on Twitter or a forum who seems to think that an opinion based on gut feelings and cherry-picked data is worth the same as an opinion based on years of peer-reviewed research.

I don't dispute that rape numbers in Sweden have gone up if you just look at raw statistics, and I don't dispute that there may be an overrepresentation of individuals with an immigrant background. However I also don't dispute the fact that the rape definition has been broadened at several points over the past 15 years which makes it far more difficult to get a true picture of the situation than you seem to think. I also don't dispute the fact that rape is one of the most underreported crimes in the world and a majority of rapes go unreported in every country in the world - but Sweden may be the furthest ahead in the share of reported rapes in part because of the broad definition but also due to an active political ambition over the past 30 years to reduce the number of rapes that go unreported.

I base this view on actually listening to experts, not by following alt-right "news" sites or opinionated people on Twitter. Which is why I'm also aware that there are a great deal of addittional factors than culture which influence why people commit rapes, murders or burglaries, such a socio-economic factors. But the far-right never seems interested in those.

I do dispute the attitude that you and others on the alt-right seem to have that rape is only an important issue when it's committed by immigrants. I don't hear you or others talk about the fact that the overwhelming majority of rapes are committed in someone's own home by someone the victims knows - most often their spouse. I only hear them care about rape victims when the man responsible is an immigrant - and in that case pretty much only when the rapist has another skin color, the don't seem to get too upset when a rape is committed by a Finnish or German immigrant.

I do dispute the fact that people like you or Jimmie Åkesson for that matter only seems to care about gender equality or women's rights when they see it as under attack by immigrants, but when it's an ethnically Swedish (or Austrian) man attacking those rights all I hear from your direction is silence. Or worse, the far-right are the ones attacking women's rights, just like SD are doing when they want to limit access to safe abortions.

I also dispute the idea of generalizing about entire groups of people because there exists a minority of criminals in that group - because every single nationality has criminals. It would be like me saying that every Austrian is a potential pedophile or every Finn is a potential knife-wielding murderer. It's crass, stupid and lowers the level of intellectual discourse to a moronically low level.

Please, for your own sake, stop talking about Sweden like you actually know anything about the situation in the country. Because every single post I've seen you make here makes it clear that you don't know anything.
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« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2018, 06:08:25 pm »

Would be interesting to know why they had success in some remote rural communities like Vilhelmina.
Roma/travellers voting for Schyman?

Uh no, that's just plain ludicrous.

An actually believable explanation could be that Annelie Nordström, the former president of Sweden's largest trade union, Kommunal, used to be a county and municipal politician in Vilhelmina during the 90s when she was a Social Democrat. She may still hold on to a decent amount of popularity in her old home town, that she carried with her when she joined FI.

Then there's other factors, for instance if they campaigned on some big local issue. And of course in small places like Vilhelmina where a turnout of 82% only amounts to less than 4500 votes, how well known and popular the party's candidates are in the community is pretty important.
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« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2018, 06:22:01 pm »

It may well be a completely incorrect suggestion, and I immediately accept that it is, but I don't see why this idea was "plain ludicrous". Wouldn't be the first time that a marginalized community prefers a candidate from their own ethnic group in a party claiming to stand up for them.

It's ludicrous to suggest that there is a significant Roma community in Vilhelmina or pretty much any of the small municipalities in the inland of Norrland.
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« Reply #20 on: September 14, 2018, 05:08:51 am »

Fine, they don't live there, good explanation - still don't think the idea warranted the qualification "ludicrous". But if you insist on being rude I guess that says more about you.

I guess I'm just starting to lose my patience with people from the alt-right raving about how Sweden is doomed and how the country is going to collapse, but when you actually start talking to them a bit more you realize that they pretty much know nothing at all about Sweden and get most of their information from Twitter and Breitbart.

Sorry about that.
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« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2018, 10:54:44 am »

What about an "independent" consensus government? Kind of like Italy with Monti?

That would be extremely unlikely. Sweden has almost no history of such governments, the last time we had a government where the PM didn't belong to any party was from 1920 to 1921, before the first parliamentary election with universal suffrage for women had even been held. From the outset it was also clear that such an "independent" government would only remain in office for roughly year until the voting rights legislation for women had been implemented and a snap election would be held.

During that one year we actually had two governments led by independent, albeit right-leaning, PMs. The first PM was forced to resign after his government lost an important vote in the Riksdag, a situation which could definitely be replicated in this parliamentary term, and now there's four years until the next election and little appetite for a snap election from any side. In the end a government needs enough support in the Riksdag to at the very least pass a budget and preferably to pursue additional reforms, and I don't see how an "independent" Monti-style government would have any easier time with that than any of the other alternatives.

The only time I could actually see it possible that an independent PM takes office would be if Sweden were to end up in the midst of a crisis caused by war or a huge economic crash. But even if that were to happen I consider it far more likely that we'd just end up with a grand coalition instead.
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« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2018, 08:07:12 pm »

I really know little about Swedish politics, but why is the Alliance so opposed to working with the SD?

They're supposed to be centre-right, but I guess "centre-right" really means "barely centre" when compared to countries like Austria?

I would appreciate any comments!


Well first, keep in mind that the Alliance is made up of two liberal parties (Centre Party & the Liberals), one liberal conservative party (the Moderates) and one Christian Democratic Party. So it's all very complicated and there's no easy way to explain it all, but in the end it boils down to basic ideological differences.

For the past eight years they've all been opposed to working with SD mainly due to their roots in the Swedish neo-nazi movement. Not to mention their continuing problems with national and local representatives openly spouting out racism, sexism, anti-semitism and sometimes even openly showing support for neo-nazi organizations like the Nordic Resistance Movement (NMR). SD's first strong candidate to become the Mayor of a municipality comparing homosexuals to pedophiles or Mattias Karlsson, the parliamentary leader of the Sweden Democrats, saying it's now a case of "victory or death" after the past election election certainly doesn't help to clean up their image.

However since 2014 the Christian Democrats have moved further to the right and parts of the Moderates have also grown increasingly positive towards at least negotiating with SD on certain issues in parliament. Not an organised supply and confidence deal mind you, because that would still be difficult considering the significant liberal wing among Moderate members and voters which they'd fear move towards the Centre Party if they were to go in that direction. They got some evidence of that during 2017 when they made a small opening towards working with SD and subsequently dropped like a stone in opinion polls, with the Centre Party as the main beneficiary.

The Centre Party, whilst very much to the right when it comes to taxation and the labour market, perhaps the most right-wing of any party in Parliament on those issues, remains firmly opposed to SD because of the vast ideological differences, just like the Liberals. They see SD, with their praise of the politics of Victor Orban, Donald Trump and inability to choose between a dictator like Putin and a democratically elected leader like Macron as dangerous. Working with them would in their eyes in the long run lead to the slow deterioration of the liberal democracy they've both worked to develop and protect. That's why they have such difficulty with being entirely dependent on SD for major votes in parliament, let alone be in government with them. The Liberals are also by far the most pro-EU party in parliament, so in that regard they are complete polar opposites with SD who want to leave the EU.

Also, it's important to remember that the Swedish public are far more socially liberal than some other countries in Europe when it comes to social issues. Gay marriage was approved by every single party in the Alliance except the Christian Democrats back in 2009 while they were in government and former Moderate PM Fredrik Reinfeldt was even one of two Moderate MPs to vote in favour of civil unions when he was a backbencher during the 90s. So the main conflict between left and right in Sweden have historically mainly been about economics and the size of the welfare state, not social issues.

While the Christian Democrats have held (and still do!) socially conservative positions on issues like LGBTQ rights or abortion they don't advertise them, because it's seen as a losing issue in elections. Some SD representatives even mentioned the Social Democrats's attacks on SD's position on reducing the number of weeks of abortion on demand from 18 to 12 as one of the reasons why they lost support in the final weeks of this year's campaign. And supporters of C and L are pretty much the most socially liberal bunch in the Alliance, which increases their distance to SD.
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« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2018, 05:37:43 pm »

Come to think about it, what's the point of having both Liberals and Centre? They seem quite similar to me tbh

There have actually been attempts at various points throughout the years to merge the parties, but they've all failed due to various reasons. There was one attempt in the early 70s which was supported by Centre Party leader Thorbjörn Fälldin, but he faced significant opposition internally, as did the Liberal (or People's Party) leader at the time. According to former L-leader Lars Leijonborg there were also preliminary talks after the 2002 elections, but it all fell through during the Euro-referendum when the two parties were on opposite sides.

There's also real differences in political cultures between the two parties; the Centre Party is traditionally an agrarian party which is understandably quite fond of subsidising agriculture and rural areas while the Liberals have generally been a party of city-dwelling academics. The Centre has also pretty much always had a far larger membership than the Liberals which would mean that they'd be dominant in any merger, which wouldn't be particularly appealing to the Liberals.

But who knows, if the Alliance falls apart completely those two parties could be looking seriously at a merger at some point as a way to strengthen liberalism in parliament. Also, the Centre Party technically owns the trademark of the Alliance (for tote bags and the like), so in that there's already a possible name for a united C-L party.
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« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2018, 04:30:19 pm »

Come to think about it, what's the point of having both Liberals and Centre? They seem quite similar to me tbh

There have actually been attempts at various points throughout the years to merge the parties, but they've all failed due to various reasons. There was one attempt in the early 70s which was supported by Centre Party leader Thorbjörn Fälldin, but he faced significant opposition internally, as did the Liberal (or People's Party) leader at the time. According to former L-leader Lars Leijonborg there were also preliminary talks after the 2002 elections, but it all fell through during the Euro-referendum when the two parties were on opposite sides.

There's also real differences in political cultures between the two parties; the Centre Party is traditionally an agrarian party which is understandably quite fond of subsidising agriculture and rural areas while the Liberals have generally been a party of city-dwelling academics. The Centre has also pretty much always had a far larger membership than the Liberals which would mean that they'd be dominant in any merger, which wouldn't be particularly appealing to the Liberals.

But who knows, if the Alliance falls apart completely those two parties could be looking seriously at a merger at some point as a way to strengthen liberalism in parliament. Also, the Centre Party technically owns the trademark of the Alliance (for tote bags and the like), so in that there's already a possible name for a united C-L party.

Wasn't the most serious attempt in the mid-90s when it actually came to a vote?

Not to my knowledge at least. The only real vote or debate I can think of would be one within the Centre Party during the early 70s, but that resulted in a merger being shot down by a significant margin. Wasn't the 90s just a period of generally poor relationships between the two parties, at least until Maud Olofsson and Lars Leijoborg entered the scene towards the tail end of the decade?
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