Sweden holds legislative elections on Sunday in which both blocs arrive evenly, with a very slight advantage for the social democratic prime minister, Magdalena Andersonand with the question of whether the extreme right will become the second party in the country.
The latest polls place the center-left ruler ahead but with a very narrow marginof two and three tenths in the opinion studies of the newspaper Aftonbladet and public television SVT, respectively; distance that increases to more than a point and a half in the Dagens Nyheter, main Swedish newspaper. They all give the Social Democratic Party as the winner, which has governed in 69 of the last 86 yearswith the extreme right Sweden Democrats (SD) second and the Moderate Party (conservative) behind.
The scant difference between blocs points to an electoral drama like the one experienced in 2018, when the difference was only one seat and it was necessary to wait a week for a definitive result, a harbinger of arduous negotiations to form a government, which lasted 134 days, a record in Swedish history.
The extreme right, a decade in focus of Swedish politics
The complicated political landscape that Sweden has been experiencing for years has its origin in the SD, a formation with neo-Nazi roots in its beginnings three decades ago but that has been moderating and that since entering Parliament in 2010 has grown in all the elections . The “cordon sanitaire” that the rest of the parties have done to it is what explains why the Social Democrats have been able to govern the last two legislatures even though there was a centre-right majority in the camera.
Since entering Parliament in 2010, the far right has grown in all elections
In the last one, a pact was necessary between the social democrats and their environmental allies with centrists and liberals, breaking the center-right Alliance that existed since 2004to maintain the isolation of the SD, which has been cracking.
Conservatives, Christian Democrats and Liberals, who have changed sides again, they now agree to agree with the extreme rightalthough they maintain their refusal to form part of a hypothetical government, a rejection that could be difficult to maintain in the event that the SD unseats the Conservatives in second place.
Internal differences in the center-left
The bloc of parties that support Andersson has notable internal differences, especially centrists and former communists, which were revealed in the last legislature with a motion of censure against the former prime minister presented by them due to a rent reform and that was used by the right.
the social democrat Stefan Lofven, the first acting head of government to be ousted by a motion in Sweden, was re-elected by Parliament a few weeks later, but ended up resigning from all his posts to pave the way for Andersson. During the campaign, the Center Party has shown willingness for the first time to enter the government, as long as the former communists stay out, and these in turn have reiterated that their support will not be automatic or free.
Crime, migration and high energy prices
The electoral discussion has been dominated by issues such as the fight against crime and the high rate of fatal shootings between members of criminal gangs; migration and high energy prices.
The main parties have competed in proposals to toughen the penalties for criminals and increase the number of agents, at the same time that there is talk of restricting an immigration policy that not long ago was the most generous in Europe and that after the 2015 refugee crisis has been placed at the level of the majority.
The high price of the electricity bill and fuels due to the rise in gas prices, accentuated by the war in Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia, have brought the issue of nuclear energy back to the fore.
For the first time in years, each of the two blocks maintains a position contrary to that of the adversary: while the center-left is betting on renewables in the medium and long term, the opposition defends supporting the construction of new reactors with generous financial subsidies. “We guarantee a government declaration with new nuclear energy”, said last night in the last televised debate between political leaders the conservative Ulf Kristerssonwhich, like the rest, promises aid to homes and companies to pay for electricity.
Sweden ended the nuclear moratorium in 2010, but provided that the total number of reactors did not exceed the ten then active nor were more centrals built than the three existing ones. Since then, the companies have closed four reactors due to lack of economic profitability, although the opposition blames the Government for the lack of aid and for betting on “less reliable” energy such as wind power.