Nr. 12-2011 Published monthly by:
The Swedish Chamber of Commerce
in Estonia

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Swedish Elections 2010 Sweden's ruling center-right coalition, the Alliance, won a minority re-election Sunday, September 19th, marking a historic moment as a non-socialist government was elected to a second term for the first time in the country's political history. On the extreme-right political scale, the Sweden Democrats party won an entry to the Riksdag (Swedish Parliament) for the first time.

These two issues came to dominate the comments on Sweden's election outcome in domestic and international media.

The Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter:

"An époque has come to an end. The Alliance's victory marked the end of the Social Democrats' long dominance in Swedish politics. Since 1932 the Social Democrats have governed Sweden 83% of the time."

"Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has not only shown that the Alliance can govern Sweden, he has also taken voters from the red-green opposition. The most important explanation to the Alliance's victory is their strong leadership during the financial crisis."

"To challenge the Alliance, the Social Democrats choose to cooperate with the Left Party and the Green Party in the elections. The outcome of the elections shows that the Social Democrats have paid expensively for this. For them 2010 is a worse catastrophe than 2006 when they bottomed with the worst election result in modern times."

"The disturbing and unpleasant back side of the elections is that the Sweden Democrats grew bigger."

"The Alliance's victory marks a historical change in Swedish politics which will vitalize the democracy. That time when one political party could subscribe on power and could decide on most of the things is fortunately over. We are witnessing a change from one époque to another."

The Swedish daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet:

"It's mixed emotions; the Alliance strengthens their advantage over the left bloc, but the Sweden Democrats enter the parliament."

"The Social Democrats have used old sea charts for their navigation and the result is what it is – they sailed on ground."

"The Sweden Democrats is an unpleasant party with a destructive we-and-them-thinking."

"The things will get more complicated for the Alliance Government in the parliament, but the occasions when the Sweden Democrats and the left bloc will join forces and vote down the governments proposals will most probably be limited. Sweden has managed to keep communist ministers out of the Government and there will be no red green back-to-as-it-was-before-politics."

BBC:

"BBC regional reporter Damien McGuinness said the success of the far right has shocked many voters in Sweden. He says the Sweden Democrats appear to have tapped into voter dissatisfaction over immigration. Immigrants make up 14% of the country's population of 9.4 million."

"The centre-left Social Democrats have ruled Sweden for 65 of the past 78 years, and are credited with setting up the country's generous welfare state. Conceding defeat on Sunday, party leader Mona Sahlin said they had not been able to win back voters' confidence: - The Alliance is the largest majority. It is now up to Fredrick Reinfeldt how he plans to rule Sweden without letting the Sweden Democrats get political influence."

CNN:

"Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's center-right four-party coalition held on to power, but lost its outright majority."

"The far-right anti-immigration Sweden Democrats party also made a strong showing, winning 5.7 percent of the vote and an entry to the national parliament for the first time. With possession of 20 seats, the party could wind up tipping the balance of power between the two major coalitions, although party leaders, including Reinfeldt, have vowed not to cooperate with the Sweden Democrats."

"Sweden has a long tradition of socialist rule, with a cradle-to-grave welfare system. But the global financial crisis threw Sweden into one of its worst economic downturns since World War II. The ruling conservative coalition, which came into power in 2006, imposed a string of austerity measures and managed to turn Sweden's economy into one of the strongest in Europe, with an expected growth of 4.5 percent this year. The crisis management appears to have impacted many voters."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

"The Swedish elections couldn't have come at a better time for Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt."

"Sweden ranks high in terms of global competitiveness. The public finances are getting stronger and 2012 is expected to generate a surplus."

The Economist

"Swedish voters seem to value competent leadership more than ideology. Sweden has just been ranked as the second most competitive country in the world."

"Swedes are not on their way to become tax-haters, but they seem to like cuts in social benefits and income taxation."

"The Swedish model still attracts – but nowadays to the right, not to the left."

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