Sweden: The Rise of the Right

The ruling center-right coalition (of the Moderate Party, the Centre Party, the Liberal Party, and the Christian Democrats) wins re-election (49.3%), a first in Swedish history, albeit three seats short of an absolute majority; and the far-right Sweden Democrats (5.7%) gain seats, also for the first time.  Both the Moderate Party (up 3.9%) and the Sweden Democrats (2.8%) did better than in 2006; whereas both the Social Democrats (down 4.4%) and the Left Party (down 0.3%) fared worse.  The Sweden Democrats polled more than the Leftists (5.6%), too.  The turnout was 82.1%, up 1.7% from 2006.

Preliminary Results of the Swedish Parliamentary Elections of 19 September 2010

Name of Party % Difference Seats Difference
Moderate Party (M) 30.0% +3.9 107 +10
Centre Party (C) 6.6% -1.3 22 -7
Liberal Party (FP) 7.1% -0.4 24 -4
Christian Democrats (KD) 5.6% -1.0 19 -5
Social Democrats (S) 30.9% -4.4 113 -17
Left Party (V) 5.6% -0.3 19 -3
Green Party (MP) 7.2% +2.0 25 +6
Sweden Democrats (SD) 5.7% +2.8 20 +20
Other parties (ÖVR) 1.4%    

Click here to see the complete results down to each electoral district (in Swedish).

Why the rise of the Right?  In brief: the wedge of fear of Islam and immigration, used to divide working people, under the hegemony of the politics of austerity.  Here’s the Sweden Democrats’ election ad (pitting pensioners against immigrants, symbolizing the latter by women in burka, an obligatory 21st-century far-right move), viewed on YouTube nearly a million times, in a nation whose electorate is just over 7 million:

Click here for English subtitles.

Laurence Lee of Al Jazeera has filed pre- and post-election reports:

Whither the European Left, in the face of the 21st-century Right?  They’ve yet to figure out what to do with immigration, let alone Islam.

See, also, Bo Nielsen, “Nordic Currencies: Sweden’s Krona Strengthens After Parliamentary Election” (Bloomberg, 20 September 2010); and Erik Durhan, “Swedish Privatization Scheme under Threat from Hung Parliament” (Wall Street Journal, 20 September 2010).

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