Here it in full with permission.
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When I sent the email this morning, it actually didn’t cross my mind that it could be perceived as sensationalist. Using the word “party” was simply a rhetorical device to express what is a completely new development in Swedish politics.
Prior to the last election, the centre-right parties had never run on a common election platform. While voters in 2006 could still vote for the four individual parties, they knew that a vote for, say, the Christian Democrats, was in essence a vote for the Alliance, a party-like entity that had ironed out its policies before the election.
In the same way, the Social Democrats have, until now, always favoured a minority government model and have consistently shunned the notion of official coalitions. The last time they were in power, they governed with the “support” of the Left Party and were always quick to stress that it was not a coalition government. What they are now proposing, in cooperation with the Greens and the Left, is unique in their history and essentially means they are mirroring the model that proved so successful for the Alliance. All they are lacking is a catchy name, though that will probably come soon.
As I see it, these changes have altered the Swedish political scene in two important respects:
First, there is a new political rigidity that was never there before. Previously, the Social Democrats were free to flirt with everybody from the Greens and the Left to the Centre Party and the Liberals, as they often did. But the Alliance has put paid to that.
Second, in traditional coalition politics, all the important horse trading is done after the election and the rival parties are free to tear each other to pieces until the results are counted. Sweden’s new electoral alliances instead create two distinct teams. This enables Mona Sahlin to say with great certainty that a vote for Reinfeldt is also a vote for the socially conservative Hägglund. Reinfeldt in turn can counter that a vote for Sahlin is a vote for a man who until very recently called himself a communist.
Hope this goes some way towards explaining my rationale.
This is a very interesting reply and I find this topic fascinating.
I wasn’t aware of the entire backdrop to this. I thought the Swedish Social Democrats had always been keen to jump into bed with those on the Left but it appears that they are just as bad as the British Labour Party in that they don’t want to power share with anyone.
That’s why Labour have never put forward any real alternatives to the ‘first past the post system’ of voting that’s used in the UK. They are as conservative as the Conservatives on this.
It’s also an interesting contrast because UK Liberals would never work with UK Conservatives on a national level. In fact in the early 70’s when Prime Minister Edward (Ted) Heath invited the Liberals to join his government, then Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe turned it down.
At the end of that decade, then Liberal leader David Steel took his Party into a disastrous alliance with the ailing Labour Government of Jim Callaghan.
I also find it fascinating that Liberals can work with the ’socially conservative’ Christian Democrats. One look at their website in English indicates they are a Party that believes in the ‘family’, I think we all know what that means.
On the other hand it’s not surprising that the Social Democrats and Greens will team up with a Leninist daydreamer like Ohly!