After 131 days, the Swedish government crisis has finally come to an end, resulting in a minority coalition government. A bizarre cross-party compromise left both left-wing and right-wing voters disappointed, as nearly half of Swedes believe it will bode ill for the country.
Sweden’s protracted government crisis, which has been dragging on since last September, has finally come to an end. However, weeks of wrangling and political chaos and an untenable compromise as a result of a coalition break-up, have all taken a bitter toll on Swedes’ confidence in politicians, according to fresh polls, the SVT national broadcaster reported.
On Friday, caretaker PM Stefan Löfven was voted back into power, as his Social Democratic Party got back its reins despite its weakest election in a century, in which they won just 28.3 per cent of the vote. This was made possible after the Alliance, a traditional coalition of the country’s centre-right parties, disbanded, with the Liberals and the Centre abandoning their cause, opting to act as the left’s support wheel instead.
This change of alignment didn’t go well with the Swedes. According to pollster Novus, 70 per cent of Swedes have either lost or greatly reduced their confidence in politicians. Only 39 per cent thought well of the compromise, whereas 47 per cent felt it was bad for the country. The majority of the respondents (44 against 31 per cent) believe the coalition won’t last until the next general election, SVT reported.
“The low confidence is startling but not completely unexpected”, Novus CEO Torbjörn Sjöström told SVT. “It looks incredibly gloomy. Politicians focus on the game, some focus on the conflicts and on others being liars. Party leaders have several times claimed being deceived by other parties. This doesn’t build trust in politics or democracy,” he added.
Right-wing Sweden Democrats and centre-right Moderate voters were the most disappointed groups, at 93 and 81 per cent, respectively.
“They believe they have received evidence that democracy doesn’t work. They are the third-largest party, but have become edged completely out of control,” Sjöström explained. “Now an already low confidence is confirmed and cemented on a new lower level”.
The centre-right alliance failed to form a majority government with the help of the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, which left the moderate voters bitter over their allies, the Liberals and the Centre, switching sides to their nemesis, the Social Democrats. The drop in confidence probably reflects the perceived “betrayal,” Sjöström suggested.
The cross-party compromise between the “red-green” coalition and their off-and-on allies resulted in greatly impeded opportunities for Löfven’s upcoming government due to various parties’ contradictory priorities.
SVT‘s political analyst called the upcoming government “one of the weakest since WWII”.