Sweden has elections every 4 years, always on a Sunday in September. Luckily for an armchair politics and sociology observer, that will be this coming Sunday. Conveniently, federal (riksdag) region/county (lands) and municipal (kommun) elections are held at the same time with 3 colour-coded ballots. As a new immigrant, Graham and I canâ€™t vote. If you stay for three years you can vote in lands and kommuns elections, but for federal it takes 18 years!!!
There are 7 major parties with representation in the Riksdag right now, and they have aligned themselves into two big voting blocks: the red-green block consisting of the social democrats, environment (green) party, â€˜leftâ€™ party and the Blue block (running the show now) consisting of the moderate party, liberal party, and â€˜peopleâ€™s partyâ€™, and Christian democrats. It is funny that they are divided into â€˜rightâ€™ and â€˜leftâ€™ when even the right-most of these is still far more to the left than the Democrats in the US or the NDP in Canada. The â€˜left partyâ€™ even has a stated election promise to RAISE taxes! All these parties have at least a mention of gender equality or climate control in their platform, since that it what Swedes care about.
There is an 8th upstart party that polls say may get seats this time: the Swedish Democrats. Their party platform is based on Swedish nationalism and limiting immigration. They seem pretty gentle and not quite stirring up the hate the way you see southern US Republicans do (shout out to Arizona!), but are the Swedish version of the growing anti-immigration and fascist sentiment in Europe.
It is not really polite in Sweden to ask how someone is going to vote or what they think about a party or leader, so I havenâ€™t had many good political discussions with Swedesâ€¦ although my Swedish class comrades are keen. Too bad we canâ€™t vote! Iâ€™ll link to election results after Sunday, but if you just canâ€™t wait, the Swedish Radio company will have the news on their site.