Political Economy



The Moderate party of Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt is planning Red – Green killer as the election nears

Thursday, 17 October 2013
General elections in Sweden is nearing and the current incumbent Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, is looking for ways to turn his party and coalition’s current low ratings into victory. As he has been trying to make some political turn around, he seems to have finally stumbled upon what could be described as a Red – Green killer.

Looking at the ways things stand now, one in five Swedish voters still has not yet decided on how they’ll vote in the general election next year. Most of them voted for the Alliance coalition in the last election but their decision for this session remain obscured as the Alliance have made things so complicated for them.

The Alliance coalition, made up of the Moderate party of the Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, The Centre party, the Christian Democrats and the People’s party lag behind the Red-Green coalition on the various opinion polls.  Gaps in their healthcare, education and social or welfare policies is causing giving the Alliance coalition headache especially when reminded by the Socialists on the left. 
The Social Democrats have made it clear that they will increase taxes to fund social services and the Alliance coalition say they will cut taxes but who has the edge?
Fredrik Reinfeldt  and his supporters in the SummerFredrik Reinfeldt and his supporters supporters the summer
On Thursday the Moderate party meeting in Norrköping, seems to have started looking into how to answer these questions. Observers believe now that the party is ready to embark on a new path to reverse its low poll numbers.

The other day, the Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt announced that he did not want to go to the polls with new tax cuts. The move followed the parliamentary party leader debate on Thursday, which Reinfeldt highlighted the Alliance coalition’s efforts in the area of welfare.

He pointed out, among other things, that there are more doctors and nurses now than in 2006 and that waiting times and lists for treatment has decreased and more health centres have been created.

On paper that is good but in reality is so? There has been florid of news reports about lack of hospital beds, sick people and pregnant mothers crowding hospital corridors, schools performing poorly and others with state money going bankrupt, old people having some of the poorest care services ever observed in Sweden and more.

Conservatives must show that they are a softer party, that is, a party for the people and are not just looking at the money and the business class, according to Torbjorn Sjöström the CEO of public opinion organisation, Novus, report Swedish business daily, Dagens Industri.

For these uncertain voter’s health care has emerged as one of the most important issue. Thereafter, jobs, schools and elderly care. Moderates party’s parade about the economy will only attract a sixth of the doubtful voters, according to Novus.

"The Social Democrats have a substantial lead in general when it comes to welfare issues, but many of the doubtful voters associate Social democrats with tax increases, which they oppose, "says Torbjörn Sjöström.

"If the Conservatives manage to turn the question around welfare, they have a great chance. This group is so large that it could turn them in the election, "he continues.

But to win the match on welfare, which is usually seen as the Social Democrats' home turf, will not be done in a flash. Despite the negative reports on healthcare and schools, there is also the ghosts of the issues about private equity companies making multi-million profits within the healthcare sector and unsuccessfully the Moderate party has failed to clarify the issue to the satisfaction of voters.

Another problem for the Conservatives is that welfare initiatives cost money, which Fredrik Reinfeldt previously identified as a scarce resource. But the question is if the welfare issue is vital why give generous tax cuts for business which are not helping to reduce unemployment and to households that still demand these services? This is why the Social democrats attached the Moderate yesterday in the parliament and accused them of borrowing to fund tax cut instead of investing in schools.

But Reinfeldt insists that he wants to invest more money particularly in school and invest more in teaching hours and more specialist teachers. At the same time, the Moderate party proposal prior to the meeting in Norrköping hold that that new jobs tax credit remains a priority when the state financial situation allows.

Magnus Hagevi believe nevertheless that Conservatives may have chosen the right strategy, as they try to make the Social Democrats look like the benefit dependent party. The goal seems to be to put the opposition's demands for higher unemployment and increased sickness contribution in future civil initiatives in health, education and welfare.
Therefore present the social democrats as the welfare dependent party could swing more voters to their camp. We’ll see…
By Scancomark.com

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