Sweden Elections 2018: Again Hung Parliament, Anti-Immigration Party Gains and also the Left

Sweden in Scandinavian Europe is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy. The electoral system to elect politicians – to govern locally, regionally and nationally – is through proportional representation unlike the first-past-the-post system in India, the UK and the USA.

A political party must get a minimum of 4% of total votes to get a representation in the Swedish Parliament, and the percentage of votes translate into proportional seats to the legislature. In 2014 elections, the Social Democratic Party won 31% votes and it has 113 members in the Parliament; and in 2018, it got 28.4% votes and translates to 101 MPs.

Voters standing in the queue at a library to cast their vote, prior to the official polling day. However, a voters can put their vote again on official polling day if he or she changes the decision

Sweden in 21st century is a multiparty country. In 20th century the Social Democratic Party (Labour) dominated the socio-political landscape and heralded a society that saw phenomenal development in terms of social progress and social equality. In 19th and early 20th centuries, almost 20% of Swedes left Sweden predominantly to the USA. But from late 20th century to 2000s to 2010s, the Social Democratic Party lost its dominance as new parties have grown like the Green Party, the Centre-Left and Centre-Right parties and a far-right party; and also the working class has migrated (or moved up) to middle- and upper-classes.

HUNG PARLIAMENT:

In the recently held elections, 9 September 2018, Sweden has voted again for a hung parliament like it did in 2014. In 2014, the Social Democratic Party’s Stefan Löfven led a coalition government with the Green Party and with the support of Left Party. These 3 parties in 2018, won 144 seats to the Parliament but short of majority.

The Swedish Parliament has 349 MPs.

The closest rival to Stefan Löfven is an Alliance of 4 political parties and their prime ministerial candidate is Ulf Kristersson but this group is also short of majority. David Lega is an active politician representing Christian Democratic Party (KD). He said that KD and its alliance parties have gained, compared to the last election, because it started to talk about the priorities of the people such as giving a voice for the elderly people and demanding for a class of 12 children in kindergartens.

David Lega showing a photo on his mobile phone: a photo of him with RK Pachauri the Nobel Prize winner from India whom David met in Sweden

David Lega attributed the housing crisis in cities to the Social Democratic Party, and hopes that his party the KD will make the rules and regulations friendlier for building companies to build more houses in order meet the supply.

There is a huge housing shortage in Sweden especially in Stockholm and Gothenburg.

The biggest winner and gainer in the 2018 elections is Swedish Democratic Party (SD) led by Jimmie Åkesson. The right wing party is against the immigration and made its election campaign to fight for ‘Security and Tradition’. The party won 17.6% votes (translates to 63 seats in the Parliament) while it got 12.9% (49 seats) in the last election. Jӧrgen Fogelklou, SD, said that the party is growing in popularity not only because the party stands for anti-immigration but also the people were not happy with the way the country was run in the last two decades. Neither the ruling alliance nor the alliance of 4 political parties have sought SDs support in 2014 but this could change in 2018 when a new government is formed. The untouchable political party in Sweden could become a touchable party as its support has grown bigger, and growing steadily.

Sweden conducts elections once in four years simultaneously for the formation of local, regional and national governments. The parties that make it to the Parliament will get support from the government for its campaigns. In 2014 and in 2018, 8 political parties are represented.

Interestingly, the Left Party has also did well in the elections though a small party but it gained 7 MP seats more than the last time. The youth and liberals solidly voted for it, and campaigned for an alternative Sweden unlike the SD the right wing party.

The biggest loser is the Green Party, which was part of the Stefan Löfven government, from 2014-2018.

PRIME MINISTER OF SWEDEN:

With hung Parliament a reality in 2018 elections, it is still unclear who will become the Prime Minister and from which political party. However, Stefan Löfven heads the Social Democratic Party which is still the largest political party but short of majority.

During the election campaign, the Moderate Party’s Ulf Kristersson was tipped as the next Prime Minister. It has emerged as the second largest party like it did in 2014 but still short of majority in spite of its alliance with 3 other political parties. The fear in Social Democratic Party is: either the Moderate Party or a party in its alliance of 4 may seek the support of Swedish Democratic Party.

In all likelihood, either Stefan Löfven can continue as the Prime Minister or Ulf Kristersson can occupy his position but there is also a chance for an unexpected or unpredicted candidate to hold the top job. It all depends upon which political parties are going to come together out of 8, and SD is willing to extend its support if a party approaches it and gives concessions to it (in budget formulation and policy matters such as on reducing the numbers of immigrants).

Swedish Parliament is a unicameral legislature: only one house unlike in India, the USA and the UK.

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