One week remains until the Swedish election on 9 September. As part of our coverage of Swedish politics, we will be publishing an open article each day this week on our website, summarising the election campaign for the day and the media coverage of the election in Sweden. As a starting point, today one of the Swedish newspapers, Dagens Nyheter, published an article noting the foreign interest in the Swedish election, in particular, in the burning cars and gang crime. The paper writes that for the foreign media, the interest in the election started for real on 13 August, when almost 100 cars were set alight in Gothenburg and Trollhättan. “The incident had what journalists often look for - a drama in reality that illustrated a broader course of events. In this case the political development in Sweden.”
Richard Milne, Nordic correspondent for the Financial Times, says that he will have his eye on the Sweden Democrats’ headquarters on election night, commenting that international media consumers are not normally so interested in Swedish politics, but, “This time it is different. This is the most important election in Sweden for a long time, and that is linked to immigration, integration, crime and punishment. Precisely the factors that have led to SD’s rise.”
Richard Milne says there is a struggle over the image of Sweden in international media, between those such as the American right-wing Breitbart, which wants to paint a dark picture of the country, and the left-wing newspaper the Guardian which wants to keep the positive image.
One of the issue being reported internationally, is increasing support for the Sweden Democrats, with news agency such as Bloomberg writing that Sweden could be in for a major quake. “Different pollsters are showing wildly different results for the Sweden Democrats (SD) but they are all in agreement that the nationalist, anti-immigration upstart will make major gains in the Sept. 9 election,” it writes, adding that if it has the balance of power it may “be able to block budgets and reforms as it sees fit”.
The issue is influenced by the fact that neither of the traditional political blocs consisting of the alliance parties (Moderates, Liberals, Centre Party and Christian Democrats) and the centre-left (Social Democrats, Green Party and Left Party) look set to have an overall majority. In SvD/Sifo’s latest poll prime ministerial candidate Ulf Kristersson’s Moderate Party were scoring 16.8 per cent, while the Social Democrats were on 25.7 per cent. The centre-left currently has 4.8 per cent lead over the centre-right. The Sweden Democrats are on 16.9 per cent, making it the second largest party.
However it is crucial to note that the Sweden Democrats are in second place because of the fragmentation within the left and right, and the party can only gain influence if the other parties decide to give it influence. As a whole, the centre-left bloc is scoring 42.2 and the alliance is on 37.5 per cent, and as Danish author Carsten Jensen wrote in DN on Sunday, 80 per cent of the population in Sweden are not going to vote for the Sweden Democrats next weekend. So despite the international headlines, and the fact that many are concerned about the progress the Sweden Democrats are making, the picture is not as straightforward as a headline makes it look.
We are a small, but qualified team of graduates in politics, economics, English and classics dedicated to providing quality news digests in English that offer readers a first-hand look at the most important topics covered by the Swedish press. Here you will find a selection of the articles that are published in our Swedish Press Review.