Low farce as Stefan Löfven gives up – will call a new election on 29th December

It has been another busy day in the Swedish parliament and for the political commentators. The 2-month old Red/Green government’s budget (supported by the communistic far Left) was defeated in Parliament. The alternative budget presented by the right-leaning Alliance of opposition parties, was also supported – going against past practice – by the far-right Sweden Democrats, and prevailed. We now have the very odd situation of a Red/Green government now having to administer the opposition’s budget which comes into force on 1st January 2015. It has been a spectacular failure by the Red/Green government after just 2 months in power.

Stefan Löfven, the Prime Minister, could have just resigned and let the speaker try to get a government cobbled together which could manage to get a budget passed. Strictly he could not call a new election since it has been less than 3 months since this parliament first met. Those 3 months are up on December 29th.

Many political commentators called this the most dramatic happening in Swedish politics since 1958! But I thought there was more of low farce than of high drama in the proceedings today. Everybody had announced how they were going to vote yesterday. There was 6 hours of meaningless debate in parliament before the vote.  Each speaker tried to avoid blame. CYA of the lowest order! Löfven called a press conference and lashed out like a very sore loser. He blamed everybody else and then announced that he would be calling a new election on December 29th to be then held on 22nd March next year. He comes from the trade union movement and has had a reputation as a good negotiator in industrial disputes. But his wage negotiation skills were not up to political negotiations. He has moved too far, too fast to the left in appeasing the Greens and the far Left party. So much so that he misjudged his strengths and weaknesses completely. He provided the Sweden Democrats an irresistible opportunity to become the centre of attraction in bringing him down. In fact he also managed with his lurch to the left to alienate the Alliance so much that it became impossible for them to rescue him (even if they had wanted to) from the quagmire of his own making.

So today he threw his hands up in the air and announced he was giving up and that he would call a new election – when he could – and ask the electorate to take the call on his budget. It strikes me that this is not just giving up. It is also a tacit acknowledgement of misjudgements and a lack of competence in managing the process of getting his budget passed.

Maybe he is hoping that before the new election is actually called 26 days from now, that the Alliance or just the Moderate Party (2nd largest party in parliament) will somehow find a way of saving his face by offering him some form of cooperation. Maybe his public announcement that he would campaign together with the Greens is just negotiating tactics. Arithmetically the only way for a majority to form is if the Social Democrats cooperate with the Alliance or just the Moderates. It is highly unlikely that the Moderate Party will just abandon its allies. The chances for the Alliance to form a Grand Coalition with the Social Democrats is extremely small and will extract a heavy price. The Social Democrats would have to dump the Greens and the far Left. That price may be too heavy for the Social Democrats

But I can speculate that if the Social Democrats have the long term in mind and are prepared to dump the Greens and the far-Left, Löfven could retain the post of Prime Minister in a Grand Coalition with the Alliance. They would command a very stable parliamentary majority which could manage to keep the Sweden Democrats completely marginalised. But some of the key portfolios – such as Finance, Defence and Foreign Affairs – would have to go to the Alliance. It may not be politically possible for this crop of politicians, but it could be the best possible thing for the country.

But unless some such cooperation is finalised within the next 26 days, the Swedish parliamentarians would have failed the electorate. And just going back to the electorate may produce the same result and solve nothing.

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5 Responses to “Low farce as Stefan Löfven gives up – will call a new election on 29th December”

  1. swedishsurveyor Says:

    You are spot on in your analysis with regards to the current political situation in Sweden. With regards to Löfven I have a gut feeling he is living in the past.

    The Social Democrats have ruled Sweden for the majority of the past 100 years and I think he believes that they will once again be the great power they once were.

    I believe the polls will result in yet another victory for the Sweden Democrats unless the other political parties choose to co-operate with them to some extent. Ignoring the problem will only make it fester and grow. I remember clearly back in 2010 a cuban born man pointed this out

    “By bullying and ignoring them the Sweden Democrats will become martyrs and will gain more support”

    The media in Sweden votes for socialist parties a staggering 75% of the time and the majority of them vote for the Environmental party. Only 1% vote for the Sweden Democrats. This has led to a clear-cut skewed coverage and has undermined Swedes support in the media.

    I myself do not believe that the Sweden Democrats are the most competent party in any regard. For example: leaving the EU will be much too costly.

    However, the mainstream political parties have made one fatal mistake. By telling the people that they won’t co-operate with them they have essentially allowed the Sweden Democrats to monopolize on the question of immigration. If they were to start co-operating they would lose face and they are not willing to do that.

    When you take into account the following:

    -Up to 600 000 asylum seekers could come in the next 4 years
    – 95 000 asylum seekers expected in 2015
    – 9/10 do not have any form of valid identification
    – ISIS jihadists coming to Sweden as “refugees”
    – ISIS sleeper cells in Sweden
    – The most ISIS jihadists / capita in the EU

    It is hard to argue to sustain the current policies and unless the other parties admit that the SD will grow to unprecedented levels.

    That’s my take at least 😉



  2. ktwop Says:

    SD is childish both in and outside parliament. They have /had too many junkies and hooligans for my liking. But the “adult parties” don’t know how to handle them.
    The Greens are an embarrassment and the Left are just old style communists. It has its problems but Grand Coalitions (a la Germany) are about the only way to marginalise the fanatics of the loony left or of the idiot right. If S and the Moderates (or the Alliance) work together they can also achieve that.
    SD only brings parliament and Sweden into disrepute but yesterday’s performance by Löfven and the other main-stream parties was farcical.

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