Swedish general election 2014

The result of the Swedish general election has led to a very complicated parliamentary situation. The centre-right government has resigned and is instead replaced of a government lead by Social Democrats together with the Greens and supported by the Left Party. But they are not in majority. The Social democrats has after eight years in opposition proclaimed their self winners of the election however the result this election is only 0.5% more of the popular vote than their worst-ever election performance last time 2010. Their coalition partner, the Greens and supporting partner, the Left party, did no better.

Instead most of the changes was on the right, where the xenophobic Sweden Democrats more than doubled their share of the vote at the expense of the Moderate party, the former leading party and the party of former prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

Sweden Democrats has its roots in a neo-Nazi movement. Its policies are incoherent, apart from a steady hostility to immigrants and cosmopolitans. Many candidates are tainted with thuggery and racism. Yet the agreement reached by all the other parties to ignore them in the hope that they will go away has failed. Exclusion from power has merely strengthened the Sweden Democrats’ claim to be the party of the outsiders. They have now got 13 % of the votes.

The Sweden Democrats are part of a wider wave of romantic and nostalgic nativism around the world. They have much in common with the successful xenophobic and populist parties in Denmark and Norway and something in common with Ukip in the UK. All these are movements against the elites, motivated in part by an anger against establishment snobbery even if most of their rage is directed at foreigners and immigrants.

The difficulty for the new minority government, led by former union leader Social democrat Stefan Löfven, is to bring their politics through a parliament with the centre-right side and the Sweden Democrats in majority.

The former Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt leaves the national political scene, disappointed. The former government could claim success in navigating the crash of 2008 better than almost any other country.

However, we have now seen the first step of the new government. Last week they produced their first budget. More money spend on reducing unemployment, combined with higher income taxes for those who earn most. Higher social security contributions taxes paid by companies for hiring employees might effect decisions whether companies will increase or reduce their workforce.

Will the government survive 4 years? It is in the hand of the Sweden Democrats.

Authors: Jesper Lindvall and Lennart Nilsson, Revelino Revision AB, Trelleborg