What percentage of Swedes are politically conservative?

Background current

A new parliament was elected in Sweden on September 9th. Despite losses, the Social Democrats were again the strongest party, while the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats fell short of their expectations and became the third strongest party.

Building of the Swedish Reichstag with the Swedish flag, on the island of Helgeandsholmen. (& copy picture-alliance)

In the parliamentary elections in Sweden, the Social Democrats of Prime Minister Stefan Löfven suffered a loss of votes (-2.8 percent), but were again the strongest force. According to the preliminary official final result, Sweden's Social Democratic Labor Party is 28.4 percent. The second strongest party was the Moderate Collection Party with around 19.8 percent of the vote (-3.5), while the immigration-critical Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna, SD for short) came third with 17.6 percent (+4.7). Although they achieved the best result in their history, they could not achieve the results that the polls had predicted shortly before the election. Nevertheless, SD chairman Jimmie Åkesson declared himself the winner of the election. His party now wants to exercise "real influence" in politics.

Difficult government formation

Who will be able to govern Sweden in the future remained unclear on the evening of the election, because the two major political camps in Sweden did not receive a government majority with around 40 percent each. The two traditional blocs had already rejected a coalition with the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats before the election. The alliance of the Labor Party, the Left Party and the Greens together received around 40.6 percent of the vote, the conservative-liberal "Alliance for Sweden" made up of the Moderate, Center Party, Christian Democrats and Liberals 40.3 percent. [1] "The bloc politics should be buried on this election evening", appealed the chairman of the Social Democrats, Stefan Löfven, and affirmed that he wanted to remain Prime Minister of the country.

Social Democrats strongest force in Sweden since 1917

There is hardly a country in Europe whose history is so closely linked to social democracy as Sweden. The Swedish Social Democratic Labor Party (Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetareparti, SAP for short) has been the strongest force in the Reichstag without interruption since 1917 [2]. Accordingly, the office of prime minister was predominantly occupied by SAP. The current is Stefan Löfven, who together with the environmental party Die Grünen (Miljöpartiet de Gröna) formed a minority government after the 2014 election.

At that time the Social Democrats got 31.2 percent of the vote, now it is 28.4. The latest surveys had predicted significantly greater losses for the SAP - between six and eight percent. Your coalition partner, the environmental party Die Grünen, even had to fear that it would be re-entered into parliament. At 4.3 percent, it landed just above the four percent threshold applicable in Sweden.


Electoral system in Sweden

Sweden has been a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary form of government since 1809. The government is the Reichstag (Riksdagen) responsible to. The Swedish king is the representative head of state but has no formal power. The Swedish parliament, the Reichstag, has existed as an organ that meets regularly since 1866. Universal male suffrage was introduced in 1907 and women's suffrage in 1919. Active and passive voting rights apply from the age of 18. The Swedish Reichstag has been a unicameral parliament since 1971.

Since 1994 the elections in Sweden have taken place every four years on the second or third Sunday in September. The elections in Sweden are based on proportional representation. This means that the parties put the candidates on electoral lists. How many seats a party will ultimately receive in the Swedish Parliament is determined by the percentage of votes it received.

The Swedish Reichstag has a total of 349 seats. Of these, 310 are fixed mandates that are awarded in proportion to the result in the 29 constituencies. How many seats are allocated in a constituency depends on the size of the population. There are also 39 compensation mandates.

A threshold clause of four percent applies - with the exception of those seats that a party receives in those constituencies where it received more than twelve percent of the vote.

Seven parties have been represented in the Swedish Parliament since the 1991 election, and eight since 2014. This diversity of parties, which is relatively large by European standards, makes it difficult to form a majority government. The center-right bloc last managed to win a parliamentary majority in 2006. Otherwise, all of Sweden's prime ministers since 1981 have emerged from minority governments that have cooperated with the various opposition parties on individual issues.

152 of the 349 seats are currently occupied by women. This means that the Swedish Reichstag has the highest proportion of women in the European Union, at 43.6 percent. Sweden joined the EU in 1995.

Migration central topic

The beginning of the downward trend for both governing parties can be dated very precisely: It coincides with the peak of refugee migration from spring to autumn 2015. Sweden has always been considered comparatively generous when it comes to migration. This also included the admission of refugees. Between the beginning of 2013 and November 2015, around 300,000 people had applied for asylum - compared to the total population, Sweden had taken in almost four times as many people as Germany, where over 800,000 people had applied for international protection during this period. But on November 24th, the government announced its change of course in asylum policy. Among other things, family reunification was severely restricted and only temporary residence permits were issued. Around 28,000 asylum seekers came to Sweden in 2016.

Sweden Democrats: Against immigration and against the EU

The Sweden Democrats have now established themselves as the third strongest force in the country. The right-wing populist party markets itself as an anti-consensus party that does not see itself as part of the center-left bloc led by the Social Democrats or the center-right bloc led by the Moderata Samlingspartiet.

Since the refugee debate, right-wing populists have been polled for approval ratings of up to 20 percent. Some pollsters even saw the Sweden Democrats as the strongest political force in the country.

The Sweden Democrats are in favor of Sweden leaving the European Union. In addition, the SD chairman, Jimmie Åkesson, planned to cut funding for climate research in the event of government participation.

The issue of migration dominated the election campaign. With the devastating forest fires in summer, the issue of climate policy also came to the fore. The bourgeois-green center party (Centerpartiet), which rose by 2.5 to 8.6 percent - to Sweden’s fourth-strongest political force, ahead of the Left Party with 7.9, the Christian Democrats with 6.4 and the Liberals with 5.5 percent. It comes from the peasant milieu and combines ecological standpoints with an economically liberal policy. In the big cities in particular, it competes with the left-green Miljöpartiet.

High voter turnout

Regarding the new distribution of seats in Sweden's parliament: The Labor Party receives 101 seats (-12), the Moderates 70 (-14), the Sweden Democrats 62 (+13), the Center Party 31 (+9), the Left Party 28 (+7), the Christian Democrats 23 (+7), the Liberals unchanged 19, the Greens 15 (-10). This means that the red-green bloc with 144 seats has exactly one more mandate than Allianz.

The turnout was 84.4 percent, around one percentage point higher than four years ago.

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