Swedish Politics: How the American election debate style is shaping Swedish politics
Monday, 07 October 2013
When compared to the American presidential style debate, or even the
British "Question to the Prime minister" - style debate in the British
parliament, Swedish political leaders' debate has always been ignore as
being boring and less charismatic in nature.
It is true that in our time we will likely not see anybody with a speaking authority like US president, Barack Obama.
Nevertheless, I assure you that the Swedish forth-coming election is
likely going to change the perception we hold on Swedish politics.
I say this looking at the debate the leaders for the Swedish political
parties had, broadcast on Swedish television last night. Some
commentators have described the encounter as "spiteful, feverish and
aggressive" and as a duel that is rarely seen in Swedish politics.
The Swedish elections is about a year away, but it felt like it's
around the corner, the way they went at each other on the first hour of
the debate. It was noticed that an unusual amount of ground was at
stake for each party leader to try and clears out.
The increasing gap in the opinion polls between the governing Alliance
coalition and the Red-Green parties shows with brutal clarity that
Fredrik Reinfeldt is making his final years as Prime Minister. He has
been described as being tired and that he should leave quietly. But it
did not look that way.
Swedish political party debate - Sunday / image Swedish Television
The two hours of debate touch many topics - health care, jobs, taxes,
climate change, refugee policy, school and crime. It did not look like
new information emerged from the party leaders on how the planned to
run the country as they seem to hold on their position and with the use
of increased hard tone.
Reinfeldt went out hard and relentlessly in a duel with Stefan Löfven,
leader of the Social Democrats, who is currently gradually creeping
into his job and asked him to read his own budget motions. But Löfven
looked safer and more secure in the debate though he still lacks the
time to be as polished as Reinfeldt.
One very important issue that emerged in the debate was a fierce battle
over who should be most trusted to manage the country. Some of sympathy
may have landed at Löfven when Reinfeldt smiled in a way that could be
perceived as mockery as Löfven hammered on JOBS, JOBS, JOBS and tax
cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts. Swedish people hate a political leader who
mocks another irrespective of their position. Respect and clarity in
Swedish politics is paramount so as the debate ranged on, body
language, tone and speaking attitudes - the way their contemporaries
were addressed was very vital.
For policy prescription or a recap of it, the Red-Green warned the
governing Alliance that they are in line of destroying what little is
thought left of the Swedish welfare system by relentlessly reducing
taxes on borrowed money and privatising welfare delivering systems to
companies based in tax havens. The Alliance argues that it is possible
to both reduce taxes and have a good welfare system. Stefan Löfven said
he "hates unemployment" and pointed to the rise in unemployment and
long-term unemployment that has tripled since Reinfeldt became Prime
Minister in 2006.
"I have learned to hate something worse, namely exclusion, "countered
Reinfeldt. Exclusion refers to discrimination in the Swedish job market
especially seen among immigrants such as the blacks and the Arabs-
He pointed out that the number of early retirees declined from 550,000
to 365,000 under his government but Löfven attacked the government for
borrowing to cover their tax cuts and said there must be an end to
persistent continuous tax cuts. "It's a bad deal., we will invest in
jobs, education and welfare, "said Löfven.
Despite Löfven talked about jobs and economic policies, his focus on jobs was obscured partially by tax talks.
Others such as Annie Loof took place and had a fierce duel with Asa
Romson on the rural economic policies and others such as the sick
Jonas Sjöstedt of the Left party demonstrated his skilful debate style
when he duelled with Jimmie Åkesson on the fifth earned income tax
credit. Sjöstedt actually is running his own race because the Left
party has not yet been adapted to the other parties.
Reinfeldt got angry and asked repeated questions about whether Löfven
can promise the Swedish people to form a majority government.
"I'll tell you how I see the government issue. I will determine the
timing of when I'll do it and then everyone will hear, "said Löfven. He
added, however, that the most important news of the government would
issue after the election results are clear.
Stefan Löfven accused Reinfeldt for cementing a coalition that has
worked well in the past. He show how the social democrats had worked
well in the past with the centre party and the Christian People's party
of policy issues and as the Reinfeldt relaxes his grip on the coalition.
by Scancomark.com Team