Black-green in blue-yellow?

In Sweden, the Reinfeldt Alliance is trying to incorporate the green Miljoparti into its government

In the Swedish parliamentary elections, neither of the two confederations achieved an absolute majority of seats. Although the conservative Moderata Samlingsparti, led by Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, improved its share of the vote from 26.2 to 30 percent and now has 107 of a total of 349 deputies, the smaller government partners lost seats: The 7.1 percent-strong People’s Party now has only 24 seats, the farmer-oriented Center Party (6.6 percent) 22 and the Christian Democrats (5.6 percent) 19. The 172-member alliance is three votes short of an absolute majority.

Although the Social Democratic Party (SAP) was narrowly the strongest party with 30.9 percent and 107 seats, it not only lost 4.4 percentage points and 17 members of parliament, but also recorded its worst result since 1914. The Left, allied to the Social Democrats, also bounced back, winning 5.6 percent of the vote and 19 seats. Only the green Miljoparti increased by 2 percentage points to 7.2 percent and 25 mandates and is now the third strongest grouping in the Riksdag. The anti-immigration groups are not part of any alliance Sweden Democrats, which won 5.7 percent of the vote and 20 seats in Parliament for the first time.

Fredrik Reinfeldt. Photo: Oval Office.

In terms of content, the SAP, which hardly distinguished itself from government policy in the election campaign, was best suited as a majority procurer. However, personal vanities stand in the way of this, which is why Reinfeldt has been making intensive efforts to win over the Grunens since the election evening, but they are still playing coy.

What black-green politics could look like in Sweden is relatively open – which is partly due to the fact that the "Alliance", the four-party alliance that has been in power up to now is not yet in agreement with one another on many points, such as parental benefits, income tax, agricultural policy and the question of NATO membership.

The goals of the alliance publicly postulated before the election include further privatization of the 1991 "rescued" Nordea banking group, telecommunications provider TeliaSonera and housing company SBAB, the establishment of a sovereign wealth fund for structural demands, the introduction of school grades from the sixth grade instead of the eighth grade, a significant increase in alcohol and tobacco taxes, the reduction of CO2 emissions by 40 percent and budget consolidation.

Maria Wetterstrand, the chairwoman of the Swedish Green Party. Photo: Miljopartiet de Grona / Fredrik Hjerling. License: CC-BY-SA.

The last two goals in particular go well with green demands such as tolls on busy roads and for trucks. The nuclear ie, on the other hand, is seen as an obstacle to cooperation: a law passed by the Alliance in the last legislative period allowing the construction of new nuclear power plants could therefore be repealed faster than it was adopted. Of course, it is not entirely out of the question that Miljoparti’s deputies will take the Finnish Grunen as a model and value the concrete advantages of government participation more highly than old dogmas.

Black-Green approaches could also become interesting in Sweden because the Green Party there was relatively successful in inheriting the Pirate Party and adopting many of its positions, while the People’s Party has in its ranks Cecilia Malmstrom, the European symbolic figure for the censorship and surveillance state. However, it was precisely this popular party that lost particularly heavily in comparison to the European elections, falling from 13.58 to 7.1 percent, which is why it is not considered impossible that corrections could be made in this policy area. Another possibility for compromise is for the Grunen to trade away their Internet burgher rights positions, which were held high in the election campaign, in favor of concessions on environmental or immigration policy.

If neither occurs, then the government alliance is still left with the Social Democrats. A tacit acquiescence by the Sweden Democrats is considered less likely, although their leader, Jimmie Åkesson, has already offered himself in favor of it, and the situation in Denmark, where the conservative government of Lars Løkke Rasmussen has Dansk Folkeparti (DF) is truncated, described as a role model.

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