New Election in Sweden?


It has now been decided, there will be a new election in March 2015. The prime minister has not resigned and the coalition will continue with their proposed budget but have separate campaigns running up to the next election. The question is however, even if there is a new election, will the outcome be much different?

Political Turmoil

Sweden's government crisis, since the Sweden Democrats (Sd) announced their decision to vote no to any budget that does not include some of their politics (i.e. reduction of immigration), will most likely result in new elections in the spring according to some experts. The current center-left coalition government (S, Mp, and V) will probably not get its budget to pass in parliament today. The impasse has taken sleepy politicians by surprise and is unique in Swedish politics as to what will happen next.

Ways forward?

One likely scenario is that the S, Mp, V budget fails and Stefan Löfven, who is currently prime minister, resigns. If he resigns then the speaker could ask him to try and form a new government without support of the Green Party (Mp). Its unclear if this will happen since the Social Democrats (S) does not seem to want to stand alone. But if it happens, the Greens could then perhaps start negotiating with the center-right opposition (M, Fp, C, Kd). Some may think that sounds weird but the Greens have historically been supporting a bit of both sides. Ideally, Löfven would like to forge deals with two of the smaller opposition parties, the Centre Party (C) and the Liberal Peoples Party (Fp), but they have rejected his advances so far. The current opposition are stong in their collaboration and have worked together for a long while. They probably want to continue to show themselves as unified. Former Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson has said that Sweden looks ready for a move away from the two blocs that have dominated the political scene for the last ten years. He is probably correct in that assessment, but most parties have not realized it until now.

Sweden Democrats position

The Sd are now in a strong position to force the other parties to give heed to their ambitions. At the same time no other party wants anything to do with them. But since Sd became the third largest party in the election they can't be ignored. They have announced that they want to make noise and try to hinder any suggestion that does not include some of their politics. By voting no to any budget that does not include their ambitions both blocs are in a troublesome position. At the moment it does not look like any bloc has met with Sd to discuss a deal.

New Election

Since there is no clear majority for any budget it is possible that Sweden will have an extra election. Sd would probably do well but maybe the two biggest parties S and M could gain some extra support from voters who seek out tried and trusted havens of stability. Right now everyone is blaming everyone and thinking less about how to find a solution. The government could also send back its budget to the finance committee, effectively postponing a decison until after Christmas. But this won't change anything. The prime minister may have already resigned but won't do so consitutionally until December 29th when he can call for new elections. The new election could come about as early as the start of Feburary. It will probably cost tax payers SEK 450 million. The latest opinion survey on party sympathies from October-November this year (8978 respondents) is shown in the graph below. S, M and Mp got higher numbers while all other parties backed. But one should note that people tend to say they vote for Mp but their numbers are lower in elections. And the opposite is true for Sd, people don't say they vote for them but do in elections.
Source: SCB


Out of the ashes into the fire

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