Sweden Elections: Nationalist Right Surge Forces Political Realignment
The surge in support of the nationalist right Sweden Democrats is forcing a massive political realignment in the Sweden parliament. This is why the Sweden Democrats were the REAL WINNERS in yesterday’s elections.
We had the Swedish national elections yesterday, and the results are in, and with most votes counted, the nationalist populist Sweden Democrats surged to 18 percent of the vote, which unfortunately fell short of the projected 20 percent that they were supposed to get. I know, if you are like me, you were hoping for at least second place finish, if not a first place victory. But nevertheless, this election was the second election in a row where the Sweden Democrats did in fact increase their support by substantial percentages. THAT is something that simply cannot be contested. They have gone from 7 percent of the vote in 2010 to 13 percent of the vote in 2014. . And now, as of yesterday’s vote, they have come in at 18 percent. This trajectory of growth is very, very impressive indeed. IT SURE BEATS THE OPPOSITE, which of course brings us to the center-left and center-right parties. The center-left Social Democrats saw their support fall from the 31 percent they got in 2014 down to 28 percent. Just to put that in perspective; yesterday was the weakest election score the Social Democrats had in a century. It was the worst result in a hundred years for the Social Democrats, and it was comparable with the center-right Moderates. Their support fell from their 23 percent in 2014 down to 19 percent as of yesterday.
Neither the center-right or center-left were able to even come close to getting a majority. In fact, both the center-left and center-right coalitions each got 40 percent of the vote total. It is basically dead even and is thus a hung parliament. There is no outright majority.
Now, this is where it gets fun. You have 40 percent of the vote going to the center-left and you have 40 percent of the vote going to the center-right. So who is standing in between these two political blocs? It is the nationalist populist Sweden Democrats. THAT is why the election yesterday in effect made the Sweden Democrats perhaps the single most significant political force in the Riksdag or Swedish parliament.
Uup to this point, the Sweden Democrats have been more or less outcasts in the Swedish parliament; they are still largely ostracized as racist and xenophobic and neo-Nazi by the so-called mainstream parties, and all parties have said that such ostracization will continue; as of today, no party on the center-right bloc has said that it will caucus with the Sweden Democrats. But analysts are coming out and saying that the political realities are beginning to start settling in for these center-right parties. Whether they like it or not, without an outright majority on either the political left or right, Sweden’s parliament is going to need the backing of the Sweden Democrats to really get anything done, especially when it comes to the political initiatives of the center-right. There really is no way around it.
And THIS is what you have to understand is the most important development from yesterday’s election. Analysts have noted that the Sweden Democrats were able to effectively syphon off enough votes from both the center-left and center-right blocs so as to leave the Social Democrats with their worst score in a century, and knock the Moderates well down from their 2014 total as well, as such that their respective center-left and center-right blocs have absolutely no hope whatsoever of a governing parliamentary majority. And here is the key: from this point on, as long as the Sweden Democrats maintain support of around 18 to 20 percent, there is no possibility EVER of either the center-right or center-left block to win a majority. You have got to get that. While the Sweden Democrats did not get the vote total we were hoping for, they did manage to get enough votes to effectively shut down both the center-left and center-right from any hope of ever gaining a governing majority. and HERE’s the magic key: with any hope of ever gaining a governing majority WIHTOUT THE SWEDEN, analysists are saying that it is now only a matter of time before the center-right says “You know what? Heck with this; we are going to form a coalition with the Sweden Democrats and now have a nearly 60 percent unstoppable governing majority.” That is precisely what is happened in the other Nordic nations such as Denmark, Norway, and Finland. That is exactly what happened in Austria, and in Italy, in Hungary, in Poland, and in the Czech Republic. The center-right has teamed up with the nationalist right and have created what appear to be almost insurmountable rightwing coalitions.
We argued this in other posts; that it was absolutely essential for the Sweden Democrats to do precisely what they did yesterday, which was NOT to win outright. Winning outright would have been lovely and it would have put a massive exclamation mark on the rise of the right in Sweden. But that was not what we argued they HAD to do. What they HAD to do was perform as a top-tier party, receiving around that 20 percent vote, which they in effect did, coming within its proximity. They had to become a top-tier party so that they effectively shut down the old center-left/center-right political order. They had to siphon enough votes from both the center-left and the center-right so as to in effect shut down the old political order and force a new political order, one where they are now in a position to become a coalition partner. THIS is the breakthrough that other nationalist populist parties have had to achieve in order to bring the nation as a whole over to a new nationalist populist political paradigm.
And guess what the analysts are saying today, now that the results from the election are in? They are saying that as of yesterday, Sweden’s old political order is dead. We are about to see a new political realignment emerge from yesterday’s election. They are saying that sooner or later – just like it happened, gradually, in Denmark, Norway and Finland – sooner or later, some kind of accommodation, either in the form of parliamentary alliances or in the form of a full-blown coalition government, Sweden’s center-right is going to have to embrace the Sweden Democrats. It frankly is inevitable. As one analyst put it, it may even be imminent. Analysts are saying, keep an eye on the center-right Moderates, it is the Moderates that look like they will be the ones to first break rank and form a coalition with the Sweden Democrats. They want nothing to do with the Social Democrats. And so, if they are going to effectively govern from a center-right position, theyare going to have to caucus with the Sweden Democrats; there is no way around it. In fact, one analyst predicted that a government compromised of the Moderate party and the Christian Democrats and the Sweden Democrats could take power as a result of yesterday’s elections; that would be a very, very interesting and fruitful coalition!
But regardless of what happens, the Sweden Democrats in the most important respects did in fact win yesterday’s election, and they won because they accomplished exactly what they needed to accomplish in order to rise to power. They cut across the traditional left-right political divide, which is forcing, whether anyone likes it or not, a wholesale political realignment in Sweden, the very realignment that we have been seeing throughout the Nordic nations as well as Italy, Austria, the Visegrad Four and Eastern Europe. It is now only a matter of time before the nationalist populist right becomes a central force in the new political order rising in Sweden. …