World Bulletin/News Desk
Sweden’s government officials are holding secret meetings with members of the opposition to avoid snap elections in March, Sweden’s national broadcaster, SVT, reported Monday.
Negotiations between representatives from both the governing Social Democrats and from the opposition come after the newly elected, minority center-left government failed to reach an agreement with the center-right opposition in December over the 2015 budget. This prompted the government to nearly collapse and led to calls for snap elections scheduled to take place on March 22.
A snap election would most likely end up in victory for the Social Democrats, in coalition with the Green Party and the Left Party, as they have the backing of 44.3 percent of Swedish voters, according to a poll released on Dec. 21 by Swedish opinion poll company SIFO.
The opposition, also called the Alliance -- including the Moderates, the Christian Democrats, the Center Party and the Liberal People’s Party -- had the backing of 40 percent of Swedish voters, according to SIFO.
Representatives from both the incumbent government under the Social Democrats and from the opposition have been discussing over the last couple of days how Sweden can be ruled by a minority government, local media reports.
The budget proposed by the Social Democrats and its leader, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, calls not only for raising taxes and spending on welfare and jobs, but also for a cut in tax payments for two thirds of Sweden’s retired population. The center-right opposition is against raising taxes on high net worth individuals.
The Social Democrats, in coalition with the Green Party and the Left Party, won the elections in September with around 43.6 percent of the votes, regaining power from center-right Alliance parties, which won around 39.4 percent of the votes.
The far-right and anti-immigration Sweden Democrats gained 13 percent of the votes -- more than doubling its support since the last parliamentary elections in 2010 and thus became the kingmakers of the Parliament.
As kingmakers, the Sweden Democrats have the power to decide which party gets decisive power. The far-right and nationalist party voted down the incumbent government’s budget proposal, prompting this month’s political crisis and calls for snap elections.
Assimilation and controversy
Before changing its name to Sweden Democrats, they were originally a nationalist movement called BSS, meaning 'Keep Sweden Swedish,' created by Leif Ericsson in 1979. Ericsson’s successor as party leader, from 1989 to 1995, was Anders Klarstrom, a former member of a Swedish neo-fascist political party called NRP, founded in 1956.
The Sweden Democrats’ party secretary caused controversy after telling Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter on Dec. 14 that Kurds, Jews and Samis may have Swedish citizenship but could not be Swedish unless they were assimilated.
The Sweden Democrats’ nationalist policies and comments have not impacted its public support as the party has the backing of 12.9 percent of the Swedish voters, according to SIFO’s Dec. 21 figures.
Experts claim that one of the reasons behind the Sweden Democrats' increased popularity is its stance against immigration in Sweden, which is expecting 80,000 asylum seekers in 2014, according to the migration board.
The Sweden Democrats have vowed to cut immigration heavily, claiming this would save the Swedish government 151 billion Swedish kronor ($21.9 billion) within four years.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Aralık 2014, 16:17