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News Analysis: Sweden's Social Democrats leading support ahead of election

English.news.cn   2014-07-07 23:26:35

by Ariane Sains

STOCKHOLM, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Sweden's Social Democrats seem poised to take over the country's government after upcoming general elections on Sept. 14.

In a poll published end-June by polling company Novus, the Social Democrats had 30.8 percent of voter support. That compares with 21 percent for the conservative Moderate Party, which heads the current coalition government.

But if the Social Democrats win, they will either need to form a coalition government or enlist help from other parties in the parliament to get legislation passed.

In the poll, the Greens had 12 percent of voter support, the highest since Novus began polling in 2008. That means they could be in a strong position to insist on forming a coalition government with the Social Democrats, Jonas Hinnfors, political science professor at the University of Gothenburg, told Swedish Radio.

Hinnfors said that the Greens' strong position will put them in a good bargaining position if the Social Democrats and they win the election in September.

"It would mean they could make greater demands," he said. "They'll be a much stronger partner in potential government negotiations."

Currently, the coalition government is in its second four-year term. Besides the Moderates, other parties in the government are the Center Party which has traditionally represented farmers, the right-of-center Liberals and the right-of-center Christian Democrats.

The main opposition parties are the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left.

Two smaller parties have been making gains with voters and could influence the election. Feminist Initiative is a leftist party focusing on gender equality.

Sweden Democrats is a far-right, anti-immigrant party which has about 9 percent of voter support, according to Novus.

While not in the Swedish parliament, both parties won seats in the European Parliament in elections this May, which analysts say may be a harbinger of gains at home.

The campaign is focused on domestic, pocket-book issues rather than international questions. Swedish voters are concerned about the future of the healthcare system, employment, the direction of the country's schools, taxes and pensions.

In a survey released Friday, the Swedish polling company Ipsos said 34 percent of those polled said schools and education are the most important election issues.

Employment was second, with 28 percent saying it is the most important question. Health care was third, with 24 percent ranking it as most important.

In addition, 17 percent of voters are also concerned about environmental issues, which was an increase of six percentage points from January when the last survey was done.

In a speech during the annual summer week of political events on the Swedish island of Gotland in end-June, Social Democratic leader Stefan Lofven promised to reduce income disparity among Swedes and create more jobs.

He spoke against lower taxes and privatization of health care and schools, traditional Social Democratic positions.

Fredrik Reinfeldt, the current prime minister and leader of the conservative Moderate Party which heads the coalition government, is promising to cut taxes further and also said he wants to create more jobs,

The Greens also oppose health care and school privatization. But they insist that two of Sweden's 10 nuclear reactors should be shut in the next four-year political term, something the Social Democrats have not committed to.

According to the Swedish Energy Markets Inspectorate, nuclear power supplies about half of Sweden's electricity.

In its survey, Ipsos said 75 percent of those questioned believe the Social Democrats will lead the next government, up from 67 percent in January.

At the same time, only 15 percent of those polled think the Moderates will lead the next government, down from 22 percent in January.

Editor: Fu Peng
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