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Sweden votes on Sunday: Key things to know ahead of general election

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Sweden is preparing to hold elections on Sunday, electing members of the 349-seat parliament, the Riksdag, and local offices across the country of 10 million people.

Early voting began on August 24th, so by Election Day many of you will have already cast your ballot. Here are some important things to know about voting.

Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson says the center-left Social Democrats are fighting to keep the left-wing coalition at the helm, but faces a strong challenge from the right.

Sweden is known as a welfare-focused country. Anderson wants to maintain the social protection that has long defined Sweden and reverse some of the market-oriented shifts by previous governments.

Her party feels that some of the changes, like state subsidies to private schools, are creating greater inequality.

The once-powerful Social Democrats have been in power since 2014. But as the party declined in popularity from its 20th-century heyday, it was forced to preside over a weakened government that relied on other parties to pass laws. It has sparked the political unrest of the past eight years.

Unpredictable Elections As the Bloc Polarizes

There are two main blocks, four parties on the left and four parties on the right. Opinion polls leading up to the election showed the two blocks in a near-dead heat, making it impossible to predict the outcome.

Under Swedish law, the political party that wins the most seats forms the government. Polls indicate this is likely to be Anderson’s party, in which case it will be up to her to try to form a coalition with majority support in Congress.

However, if the movement of the left wing as a whole is bad, it may not be possible to form a coalition. In that case, the baton is passed to the second largest party to try and form a government.

In the last election in 2018, moderates led by center-right Ulf Christerson won the second most seats. The Conservative Party promotes a market economy, low taxes and a reduced role for government in countries with generous welfare states supported by high tax rates.

But like the Social Democrats and many other mainstream parties across Europe, moderates are also seeing a decline in popularity with voters amid populist challenges from the right.

The Swedish Democratic Party, a populist right-wing party with a hardline stance on immigration and crime, has been steadily growing since it first joined parliament in 2010.

The party won 13% of the vote in 2018, making it the third-largest force in parliament. Opinion polls show it’s likely to improve over its display on Sunday.

Some Swedes have described the party as Trumpist and put off the fact that it was founded decades ago by far-right extremists.

The party is led by Jimmy Akeson, a 43-year-old former web designer who has been the driving force behind the party’s efforts to soften its image.

Immigration is a major polarizing factor, Anderson popular with women

However, the party is clearly taking advantage of its social mood. can also be measured by the fact that the

Other conservative parties once treated as pariahs are increasingly led by the Swedish Democrats, who advocate “less immigration and more deportations” while also turning to outright xenophobia. are being dealt with more and more aggressively.

At the same time, traditionally center-right parties like the Center Party are allied with the left-wing bloc of the Social Democratic Party after being put off by the Swedish Democratic Party’s more extreme views on immigration.

Anderson became Sweden’s first female prime minister less than a year ago. It’s a belated milestone for Sweden, which in many ways is an example of gender equality.

“I was really proud,” said 39-year-old Ulrika Hoonk, who voted in Stockholm early on Friday night, adding that it “had taken too long” to do so. I was.

Polls show that Anderson’s party is particularly popular with women, while men tend to vote more conservatively.

Anderson was the first female prime minister, and there are still many women in positions of power. She has four party leaders with women, one party with women and men sharing the leadership. In Congress, the gender balance has long been split roughly 50/50.

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