The Swedish government is being constricted by the opposition. The question is how long can it continue this way?


Sunday, 19 June 2011
The Swedish government's setback in parliament at the enjoyment of the opposition is now reaching a point of utter hardship for the government. The pain is even to come more with opposition aiming at chocking the government more when the government would want to pass key core policies. Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt must decide if he wants to continue under these conditions.

The Swedish parliamentary sessions is closing on Wednesday, to resume in the fall of this year but the Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, knows that he has not had a great time being the head of the country and did not look particularly happy on election night of 2010. He won the election but later realised that there was not much fun in his victory. He came back to his Prime Ministry and realised that he had a very slim majority to work with and that the radical far rights have made their biggest moves and are in the parliament.

This has been manifested in that after persistently struggling to make big policy moves in the parliament then after, he was found himself held tight by the opposition, killing his policies before they could even be properly debated on the parliamentary floor.

20 cases brought in for debate and vote ended up in looses for the government.  But during much of this term, nevertheless, the defeats have been of somewhat minor importance. Things like bridge tolls, small game hunting and the castration of piglets had little threat to the government such that those looses have not been something that seriously jeopardizes the key elements of government policy.

But in the spring and early summer, the opposition sharpened their tone and crept ever closer to the core government policy such as labour policy.

Changes in labour market policy, improvements for part-time unemployed, and changes in health insurance have meant that parts of the government policy is now being rolled back. Stop in the sale of certain state-owned companies and evaluations of the earned income tax credit, school reforms and deregulation of the electricity market as well as the railway policy are the central part of government policy opposition have used to tie the government on its neck. These difficulties will be felt more in the coming terms if current parliamentary sessions will survive.

One big test will come after the summer break when the government presents its budget. A fifth earned income tax credit is promised, but a majority of parliamentary parties are against it. By a simple committee initiative, they can stop it.

Reinfeldt refuses to say what he’ll do if the opposition block his continuation of tax cuts. The leader of the Social Democrats, H�kan Juholt has not explicitly said that they will support the proposal or not. Faced with an impending loss, the Prime Minister may choose to swallow his disappointment and be content with past accomplishments such as jobs tax credits, to try to come to terms with the Green Party to get through  and save some face or in the worse case scenario to resign.

Then there might be some reversal of roles with H�kan Juholt to lead a majority including the far right Sweden Democrats with balance of power support, or a new election can be called.

The way things stand now, it does not look very good for Reinfeldt and with opinion polls showing his government parties weakening in support, a snap election now could see the Red – Green coalition swept to power.
By Team

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