Left expected to seize power in general election today
Elections take place today to elect the 349 members of Sweden’s parliament, the Riksdag along with municipal and county council elections.
There are c.7.6 million eligible voters and 5837 polling stations which will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time. There are nine political parties vying for people’s votes and in the parliamentary election a party has to exceed the 4% threshold to secure representation. By Thursday more than 1.5 million people had taken up the option to vote in advance of election day.
One party, the Feminist Initiative (FI) who are on 3.6%, has attracted national media attention because they are just 6,000 votes away from representation. A DN Ipsos poll put them on 3.6% but another poll gave them 3%.
The threshold for County elections is 3% with no threshold for municipal elections.
The DN Ipsos poll gives the ruling centre-right ‘Alliance’ 39.6% of the vote with the centre-left Red/Green Bloc on 46.4%. The deciders look like being the left-wing Feminist Initiative (FI) on 3.6%, and the far-right Sweden Democrats who have 9.4% of the vote if the poll is to be believed. Both major blocs have refused to entertain the idea of forming an alliance with the Sweden Democrats which means that a minority government is a strong possibility.
In the 2010 general election, the centre-left Swedish Social Democratic Party (SAP) emerged the largest party with 112 seats in the 349 seat Riksdag. However, the centre-right Moderate Party (M) with 107 seats, the Liberal People’s Party (FP) with 24 seats, Center Party (C) with 23 seats and Christian Democratic Party (KD) with 19 seats went on to form a coalition government called the ‘Alliance’, but it was three short of an overall majority.
The Alliance has put forward a join manifesto but the centre-left bloc which comprises the Social Democratic Party (S), the Green Party (MP) and the Left Party (V) have put up individual manifestos.
Late last week as many as one in three voters were still undecided. The Alliance has been a successful government, bringing down taxes but also eroding the traditional social welfare state which the Social Democrats had put in place over a period in office which spanned much of the 20th century and up to 2006. Most commentators suggest that the centre-left will win by a narrow margin because people want a change from the same old faces.