Monday, September 20, 2010

About Swedish Election Results

Yesterday there was a general election here in Sweden. The final results aren't in yet as not all absentee ballots have been counted but we know a few things for sure:

Even though the centre-right coalition that has been ruling Sweden for the last 4 years might when the final votes have been counted get marginally more votes than the left-wing parties and the nationalist, anti-immigration Sweden Democrats get together, and even though the Swedish election is supposed to be fully proportional (with the exception of a 4% threshold to get represented in parliament), they will based on the preliminary results probably only receive 172 out of 349 seats in parliament.

The reason for this is that the 4 centre-right parties in the coalition appears to have had bad luck in rounding when the votes are translated into seats (Swedish language link), while particularly the biggest left-wing party, the Social Democrats, seems to have had good luck.

Because of this, Sweden will indeed as I predicted it might, follow Australia and Britain and get a "hung parliament".

Sweden might also have a similar situation as Norway where the centre-right parties had more votes than the left-wing parties but received fewer seats in parliament and as the United States had in 2000 when George W. Bush won over Al Gore despite receiving fewer votes.

The irony is that the coalition actually increased its share of the vote somewhat, but might still lose its majority because the Sweden Democrats who was previously below the 4% threshold (with 2.9% in 2006) now rose above it with their 5.7% of the vote and because of bad luck with rounding.

All of the established (both centre-right and left-wing) parties have ruled out cooperation with the Sweden Democrats, so this means the current coalition will have to seek support from the Green Party and/or the Social Democrats (the centre-right parties have also ruled out cooperation with the third left-wing party, the Communists).

This is unfortunate for Sweden as it will probably prevent more of the tax and spending cuts that have been so successful in boosting employment.