Sweden has voted, and if Trollhättan were the navel of the nation, then the matter would be clear. Unfortunately, Trollhättan is a small provincial town, the majorities in the country are distributed differently than the Göta Älv.
The Swedish Social Democrats under Stefan Löfven have become the strongest party with a slight gain, but the left bloc with Greens and Left Party has no majority in the Reichstag. Responsible for this is the strengthening of the Swedish Democrats to 12.9%, they are the actual election winners. Right-wing ideology is hidden behind the democratic name, with restrictions on the right of asylum and less immigration of foreigners to Sweden on the agenda.
The difficult economic situation in Sweden, like almost everywhere else in Europe, shows its impact through supply for the right-wing spectrum. The disappointed and globalization losers could neither Reinfeldt and the Moderates, nor Löfven and the Social Democrats provide answers to their questions. Forecasts after closure of the polling stations, the Sweden Democrats saw at times almost 19%. It did not happen that way, but the shock of the good performance of the right-wing party is deep in Sweden.
I am worried about the result, because in Sweden we are the foreigners. And no, the blog does not become a political magazine. It's about Trollhättan, about cars, about Saab. Löfven is a working-class man. He was union leader of IF Metal, his commitment to Saab in the year 2011 is still in the memory. Unlike Reinfeldt, whom he is likely to replace, he was on the ground in Trollhättan when the crisis was worst. That brings him my sympathy.
But he has, what is criticized by the political opponent, no experience on the international political stage, which probably cost him a few percentage points.
If he is new head of government, the opportunity is high, then he must govern with changing majorities. Already on election night, Löfven announced talks beyond the block boundaries.
The result of the Sweden election is a possible minority government. Not an optimal starting point, not a few citizens and the economy had wanted more stable conditions and clear majorities. The fear that four lost years could lie ahead of the country is making the rounds. The nation does not need a weak government that cannot enforce its policies.
Before Löfven are great tasks. Sweden has lived beyond its means for years, and public debt has risen to 30% of gross domestic product. Not so much European, but too much for citizens who are used to healthier numbers. At the same time, not a few Swedes want more social welfare, which can only be financed through massive tax hikes. Negotiation skills are needed until the coalition stands. The potential green coalition partner wants to get out of nuclear power, the Social Democrats want to hold on to it. The first talks on forming a government take place without the Left Party; maybe Löfven made his first mistake today.
First and foremost, it is about revitalizing the economy. Under Reinfeldt, Sweden's de-industrialization progressed, the Anglo-Saxon financial industry was seen as the future. The big challenge is to give business and foreign investors a perspective. International capital hates unstable political conditions as well as rising taxes.
Sweden is not Germany. Even after years, I only partially manage to understand the Swedes. Because things in the north have always developed in a different way. Cohesion, concentration on the community, the withdrawal of the individual have long been considered Swedish virtues. Creating the modern interpretation of a “Volkshem”, a special way that Swedes can tie in with old strengths and solidarity, will make the difference between success and failure.
In Sweden there is a word for which we don't have a German translation. But that embodies many expectations. “Lagom” stands for not too much, not too little. The healthy middle ground, balancing the situation. Under Reinfeldt there was too little “Lagom”, too much neoliberalism, which only brought a few things. These few were the economic winners of the Reinfeldt era, now they are the losers of the election. One of the headlines on election day was: “The people have realized how much they have lost”. The result is the strengthening of the Sweden Democrats. Stefan Löfven and his government have to find the “Lagom” and bring it back to the center of Swedish society.