By Nordstjernan columnist Ulf Nilson, January 2011

Sweden, once one of the most stable democracies on earth, is slipping into political chaos, well ... kind of.
It started, I guess, when the Social Democratic party, which had ruled the country all of my life (and I am 77!), lost for the first time in the 1970s. And now, gee whiz, it's all a merry-go-round.
The Prime Minister, Frederik Reinfeldt, it should be noted in fairness, is not threatened―which might be part of the problem. Reinfeldt and his party, Moderaterna, formerly The Right (Högern), has slowly developed into a kind of Social Democrat-light: supporting the giant welfare machinery built up during the socialistic (light) years. So, Freddy (I am the only one who dares call him that) is going to stay. This not the least because almost nobody else is.…
The Social Democratic leader (if that's the word) Mona Sahlin has already announced her departure. Nobody is going to miss this bloodless type who got to be chairwoman mainly because she is a woman.
A battle royal over succession is going on inside the party. My guess: NO WOMAN. Probably Sven-Erik Österberg, a dour, bureaucratic man whom nobody can suspect of thinking original thoughts, a sin in Swedish politics. If it is, in spite of everything, a woman, bet on Veronica Palm, very pretty and, more importantly, from Stockholm. Also, expect further decline.
Out goes: following party rules, the Environment Party's (Miljöpartiets) Maria Wetterstrand and Peter Eriksson, probably succeeded by Gustaf Fridolin, who is going to work hard for the environment and (much) harder for Fridolin.
The Liberals (Folkpartiet) are going to stick with Jan Björklund, once a major in an army that doesn't exist since the draft was abolished. Hardly any Swede, man or woman, it seems, wants to become a professional soldier (which might involve Afghanistan and nasty Talibans shooting at you).
In the Center party (Centerpartiet, formerly Bondeförbundet), Maud Olofsson might survive, but only because there is no challenger of quality (which should not be taken to mean that Olofsson has done well). The Center might have a hard time getting into parliament next time.
The same goes for The Left, meaning the Communists. The leader, Lars Ohly (who used to be a locomotive driver and very much a true communist), is very much on the skids. He says he wants to continue but Jonas Sjöstedt says he is ready to take over and so are a couple others, all swearing they never ever liked Stalin and are, in fact good democrats. Which nobody over 30 believes and then only because schools in Sweden are rather weak on 20th century history. Stalin or Santa Claus, does it really matter?
Then, how are things for the Christian Democrats (KD)? Well, bad. Opinion polls show dismal support, which should surprise nobody since Sweden is, in reality, hardly Christian at all. The leader, Göran Hägglund, is most certainly out. His most likely successor seems to be Mats Odell, a bit more aggressive, but certainly no charmer. Except, maybe, among party people.
At last, there is The Swedish Democrats (Sverige Demokraterna) with Jimmy Åkesson as leader. They haven't been in parliament very long and done exactly nothing. But, but, as time goes by and the others continue to weaken, more and more people might want to support the ultra nationalist, extreme right fellows. I believe so, but might, of course, be wrong.…
All in all, I would say there is a very grave lack of charisma and new ideas in Sweden's political landscape. But then, lo and behold, this might be precisely the way the folks like it. The political scene should mirror the country it represents, no …?