Sweden downgrades parliamentary democracy in favour of a back-room collusion of the cowardly

Following on from my previous post, it now becomes clear that parliamentary democracy has been downgraded – if not abandoned – in Sweden till 2022. The ruling Social Democratic /Environmental Party grouping has made a back room deal with the four parties making up the centre-right Alliance (Moderate, Christian Democratic, Centre and Peoples(Liberal) Parties) which means that an extra, snap election in March 2015 is no longer necessary.

The ‘December agreement’ will last until 2022, and commits the six major parties not to block any minority government’s budget while they are in opposition. It is an abdication of the parliamentary responsibility of opposition parties to oppose. Neither the Left Party (communists) or the nationalist, racist, anti-immigration Sweden Democrats were included in the back-room deal. The six parties argue that this is to make Sweden more governable and to avoid major budget vote losses from leading unnecessarily to new elections. Any minority, coalition government will now be able to able to get its budget passed. Effectively these six parties have created a partial, pseudo-coalition such that actual party strengths in parliament can be ignored. It is a collusion among six particular parties to suppress and oppress two specific, minority parties across the next two elections.

“Sweden has a proud tradition for solving difficult problems across party boundaries which doesn’t exist in any other country,”  Prime Minister Stefan Löfven announced as he backtracked on all he had said over the last month. Of course he never needed to have announced that he would call a snap election at all. He could have shown some political courage. He had not exhausted parliamentary procedures. He could have resigned and allowed the Speaker to look for other coalition groupings which could have commanded sufficient support in Parliament. The same result could have been achieved in parliament. But Löfven comes from a trade union background. Not surprising that this makes him the quintessential back-room operator.

Of course these 6 parties were all running scared of the Sweden Democrats coming back at any new election with an even stronger position. Their 13% support (49 seats) was likely to increase. The real “agreement” between them is to block the Sweden Democrats from having any significant influence in Parliament. It is a coalition of the cowardly. But holding them back by effectively extra-parliamentary agreements could well be counter productive. Disenfranchising 20% of the electorate (13% SD and 6% Left)  can only lead to frustration. I expect that the Sweden Democrat supporters – who have more than their fair share of hooligans – will now  also resort to extra-parliamentary action. It could lead to even more violent and racist behaviour. Other minority parties among the 6 parties who have cosied up to each other will have a disproportionately large influence. The destructive Environmental Party (7%), the visionless Centre Party (6%), the formless People’s Party (5%) and the failing Christian Democrats (5%) will all have a quite unjustified strength while hanging on to the tails of the larger Social Democrat and Moderate Parties.

I quite like the fact that the Sweden Democrats and the Left Party are rendered impotent in Parliament – but this has been achieved by a back-room, extra-parliamentary deal. Right result, wrong means. It is a clear degradation of parliamentary procedures in favour of back-room democracy. Sweden will apply democracy not by consensus or in proportion to parliamentary strength, but by collusion among a conspiracy of the cowardly. Twenty percent of Sweden’s electorate have had their parliamentary representatives rendered politically impotent. Sweden’s democracy has effectively institutionalised the suppression and the oppression of some specific minorities.

All democracies have their limitations of course. But this new pseudo-coalition is based on fear and cowardice. This deal for back-room democracy stinks.

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One Response to “Sweden downgrades parliamentary democracy in favour of a back-room collusion of the cowardly”

  1. Sweden’s December Agreement abandons parliament for a postmodern, back-room “party democracy” | The k2p blog Says:

    […] democracy. It is whatever you want to make of it. It is a form of postmodern democracy which degrades a traditional parliamentary democracy to something else. I take postmodernism to mean a world […]

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