The Swedish election on September 9 offered no clear winner among the blocs. The final election results for parliament were released by the Swedish Election Authority on September 16. The final count took longer than estimated due to the high number of voters and the fact that more people have chosen to vote in advance, close to the election day.

Call for the PM to resign
The moderate leader, Ulf Kristersson along with his fellow party leaders in the so-called Alliance, however, immediately called for the resignation of the present PM Stefan Löfven (s). Prime Minister Löfven in his speech the night of the election confirmed he would stay on and had no plans to resign. It will be “government as usual” albeit without any major policy decisions until Riksdagen opens on September 25. He also expressed a wish for bloc politics to disappear after the election was over.
The center-right Alliance bloc (The Moderate, Center, Liberal and Christian Democrat parties) would hold 143 seats and the center-left (Social Democrats, the Left and the Greens) 144. The Swedish Parliament, Riksdagen, has 349 seats so the likelihood of either of the traditional blocs being able to find a majority to legislate is slim, to say the least, leaving the Sweden Democrats in a pivotal position.
With none of the parties, so far, showing any willingness to leave earlier bloc politics, all is set for a dramatic couple weeks before a new - once again - minority government can take a seat at Rosenbad (the government building in Stockholm). Unless, of course, either of the large, established parties, which previously vowed not to cooperate with the Sweden Democrats, changes their views on the far-right SD or, best case, decides to broaden earlier alliances. Neither is at present a likely scenario - quite possibly at the voters’ and the nation’s expense.
The Alliance sought Prime Minister Löfvén’s support in forming a center-right government through the OpEd pages of Sweden’s largest daily, Dagen Nyheter. The PM’s reply, “Under no circumstances can the smallest bloc govern, it would be illogical and undemocratic. Discussions about collaboration should be made during confidential talks, not over Twitter or OpEd pages. The center-right alliance is only largest if you count votes for the Sweden Democrats, which the alliance parties have all rejected.” He continued by stating he wouldn’t participate in supporting bloc politics for another four years: “Put the [political] games aside and interact as independent parties for the good of the nation.”
Many in Sweden say this is the social democratic leader’s way of splitting up his opponents. Be that as it may, there are some voices that are now discussing a variety of minority governments, from the moderate parties and Christian Democrats forming a government, to a coalition between Social Democrats, the Center Party and the Liberals.
There will likely be a call for a vote of distrust for the present government led by Löfven if no clear collaboration involving the Social Democrats appears prior to the parliament’s opening on September 25.


Sweden vs. the United States
It’s important to understand how the Swedish system differs from ours in the U.S. While we have a two-party system in place, Sweden has had a multi-party system for years. Also, when Swedes go to the polls, they vote for a party; and the party or constellation of parties that can muster a parliamentary majority to form a government will be asked by the speaker of parliament to form the new government under a new prime minister. The PM will, with few exceptions, be the present leader of the strongest party.
Historically, the Social Democrats dominated politics in Sweden from the 1930s until 1976, for some time governing together with the predecessor of the Center party, at the time called the Farmers’ Party (Bondeförbundet). The 40-plus years in a governing position, much of the time with absolute majority in the parliament, is unique in the western world.
Even more telling about the differences: In October 1946 Tage Erlander became the new Prime Minister of Sweden. The son of a teacher and organist from Ransäter, Värmland resigns from the post 22 years later, in 1968, and is succeeded by Olof Palme. The first center-right government in decades is elected in 1976 with just over 50% of the vote after a period of stalemate in parliament. It consists of the Center Party, Moderates and the predecessor of the Liberals called the People’s Party (Folkpartiet). The largest party at the time is the Center Party with over 24% of the vote and its leader Thorbjörn Fälldin becomes prime minister. The then relatively new party of today’s Christian Democrats gathered less than 2% of the vote and the Greens had yet to be founded (1981). To receive seats in the 349-seat parliament, the Riksdagen, a party needs to collect a minimum of 4% of the vote.
Another difference between our two nations is voter turnout. In the presidential election in 2016, a record year in the U.S., a little over 58% of eligible voters went to the polls. This year’s election in Sweden saw a voter participation in excess of 85% with 200,000 votes coming from Swedes living abroad and through the mail during the final week.
Ulf Barslund Mårtensson