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2022 SWEDISH ELECTION

Swedish opposition seeks deal on new post-election rule

Sweden's opposition leader has called for an agreement with Sweden's Prime Minister that no government should be allowed to form in future if it does not have support in parliament for its budget.

Swedish opposition seeks deal on new post-election rule
Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson debates with Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson during Prime Minister's Questions in the Swedish parliament. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Moderate Party, said that there should not be a repeat of the situation seen in last two mandate periods, where the Social Democrats have twice had to rule on a budget drawn up by the right-wing opposition. 

“It is not sustainable that a government grips tightly to power when it cannot get its economic policies passed,” he told Magdalena Andersson during Prime Minister’s question time in the Swedish parliament. “Can the two of us agree that no government should take power without having secured support for its economic policies?” 

It was unclear whether this was a serious proposal or a gambit intended to underline the weakness of the government in the run-up to Sweden’s general election in September. 

Securing support for economic policies is arguably more of a challenge for Magdalena Andersson, as two of the parties likely to support her as Prime Minister after the election, the Centre Party and the Left Party, are deeply divided on economic politics, even though they are united on their unwillingness to back a government dependent on the populist Sweden Democrats. 

The Centre Party has supported Andersson as Prime Minister without voting for the Social Democrats’ budget.  

Kristersson’s call comes after the Social Democrats on Wednesday called for its own budget proposition to fall after a compromise on pensions agreed with the Centre Party was blocked by the parliament’s finance committee from being put before parliament. 

“This was a graphic example of the government’s impotence and the decay of government power,” he said.

Sweden’s prime minister, Magdalena Andersson, did not respond to Kristersson’s proposal, but pointed out that after the last election he had failed to establish a government at all. 

“I think that many among the Swedish people wonder what is happening in parliament just now and think that it is chaotic and incomprehensible,” she said. “My ambition is to establish a government that can get through its economic policies.” 

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SWEDEN DEMOCRATS

Researcher who wrote Sweden Democrat’s white book was party member

Tony Gustafsson, the historian hired to research and write the Sweden Democrats’ ‘white book’, an investigation into its roots in the neo-Nazi and white power movements, joined the party in 2017, the Expressen newspaper has revealed.

Researcher who wrote Sweden Democrat’s white book was party member

When the document was published last month, the Sweden Democrats described Gustafsson, a researcher based in Uppsala, as ‘independent’, stressing that he had been able to carry out his research without interference from the party. 

But the Expressen newspaper revealed on Monday that Gustafsson had in fact joined the party he was supposed to be investigating back in 2017. 

Confronted with this, Gustafsson told the newspaper that he “would not comment on my political position or background at all in relation to this project”.

“I have chosen not to let my ideological commitments, political standpoints, or actual membership, be a part of the discussion,” he said. 

In a press release, which has since been taken down from the party’s website, the party said that the report gave “no support for the idea that the party was part of the fascist movement.”

“The report suggests rather that the party and the associations which predated its establishment were in conflict with those extreme movements that then existed and that didn’t at all want to see a new movement to develop on democratic grounds,” it read. 

Martin Kinnunen, the Sweden Democrat MP who was responsible for the project, in July said that the project had been “the most transparent ever launched in Swedish politics”. 

On Monday, he said he had been unaware of Gustafsson’s past party membership. “We don’t go and dig around in our register, and don’t keep information on who has formerly been a member of the party, but instead have to delete it because of [the EU’s] GDPR rules.” 

He reiterated that Gustafsson was politically independent. 

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