Why Swedish values are at stake after its general election

It's been one week since Swedish voters went to the polls, but we still don't know what the country's next government will look like. This will be determined by talks over the coming weeks in which Sweden's reputation itself could be at stake.

Catherine Edwards
Catherine Edwards NewsMavens, Sweden
Why Swedish values are at stake after its general election - NewsMavens
Swedish houses. Pixabay

Why this story matters:

Sweden's election was covered by international media perhaps more than expected, given the country's small size. The Nordic nation has become an emblem of an open, progressive society to many, one often reduced to generalizations whenever the media or politicians peddling them wish to stress the success or failure of the Nordic model.

In the end, the election was underwhelming. Neither of the two main blocs won a majority of seats.

The far-right, anti-immigration Sweden Democrats increased their share of the vote, but their final figure of 17.6 percent was well below predictions.

Seven of the eight main parties declared themselves the "winners" of the election, but now they are locked in negotiations on how to form a government which will look unlike any the country has seen before. This will prove tricky, because the members of each main bloc have rules out working together, but have also refused to work with the Sweden Democrats.

Details from the story:

  • It took seven days before the final election result was revealed, after recounts were delayed by multiple factors
  • The centre-left bloc has a tiny one-seat lead over the centre-right Alliance (144 seats to 143)
  • Meanwhile the Sweden Democrats won 62 seats, despite some polls earlier predicting they would gain up to 25 percent of the vote
  • Turnout was high, at more than 84 percent
  • The new parliament will open on September 25
  • Paul Rapacioli, the author of the article recommended below, is the author of Good Sweden, Bad Sweden, a book analysing Sweden's reputation abroad, and writes about how the next few weeks will see Swedish values put to the test.
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