The upcoming general elections

Gunilla Herolf
The Swedish political discussion was already, during the spring, dominated by the general elections to be held in September 2010. Both the opposition (the Social Democratic Party – s, the Green Party – mp, and the Left Party – v) and the governing Alliance for Sweden (the Moderates – m, the Liberal Party – fp, the Centre Party – c, and the Christian Democrats – kd) have put forward their main ideas for the future government. Prominent areas of the ongoing discussion have, as usual, been jobs, welfare and taxes.[1] This year, proposals dealing with the environment have been more prominent than before, most probably due to the more important role of the Green Party in the opposition, following sharp increases for this party in opinion polls.
Reactions to the economic crisis in Europe have not become a divisive issue thus far. In the first big debate, both Fredrik Reinfeldt and Mona Sahlin (social democrat and opposition leader) agreed that, while the Euro countries had the primary responsibility, Sweden should do what it can to help.[2] Even though Sweden is outside the Euro, its small, open and global economy makes it vulnerable to crises in other countries and it is therefore in Sweden’s interest to do so. Since the Swedish economy is in very good shape, there is no discussion on austerity measures.
The election campaign will probably be intense since the two blocks are now very even in the opinion polls. This situation came very suddenly after a long period in which the opposition had maintained a strong lead position.

[1] Mats J. Larsson/Hans Olsson: Nu laddar de för en stenhård valrörelse [Now they are gearing up for a very tough election campaign], Dagens Nyheter, 20 May 2010, p. 24.

[2] Ewa Stenberg: Krisen tar plats i valrörelsen [The crisis enters the election campaign], Dagens Nyheter, 10 May 2010, p. 8.