Days 282 and 283 — Swedish politics, more about

A few posts ago I launched into the Swedish political system. Today, it is the political parties that make up Swedish political life. In the U.S., we have two sides of the same coin, Republicans on the right and Democrats on the left and, increasingly, there is not a nickel’s worth of difference between them as it affects the man on the street.

In Sweden there are also two main parties, the Social Democrats (who stand for an ideology of democratic socialism) on the left and the Moderates on the right (who stand for conservatism and liberalism), though “right” in Sweden still means a light year to the left of Obama. Neither of these two parties receives enough votes to have a majority in the parliament (Riksdag), though the Social Democrats did achieve this twice. They basically ran Sweden for six decades beginning in the 1930s and established the welfare system that exists in the country.

Besides these two main parties, however, there are seven others who are major players: the Green Party, which has an environmental ideology; the Liberal People’s Party, with a social liberalism slant; the Center Party, which seems to be a mixture of agrarianism, green liberalism (whatever that is) and centrism; the Sweden Democrats, who are heavily nationalistic and anti-multicultural (which, as you might imagine does not play well with any of the other parties); the Pirate Party, which sounds like a joke but their ideology stresses intellectual property reform; the Christian Democrats, who favor Christian Democracy; and the Left Party, which is socialist and feminist.

Any party that receives more than 1% of votes in a general election receives official support and has their ballots printed and distributed. All nine of the above qualify.

But the political fun does not stop there in this country. There are a host of minor parties which include:

As you can imagine, many of these are single issue parties. The Liquor Party, for instance concerns itself with the issue of alcohol abuse. For those with a desire to abuse alcohol, however, there is the Donald Duck Party which advocates free liquor and wider sidewalks.  Something for everyone in this country. There are perhaps three dozen other local parties but if you have any interest at all in these you can go to Wikipedia, like I did for this listing.
The parties represented in parliament have to form coalitions to enact legislation, so there is a lot of coordination that goes on. In the U.S., anything bipartisan that occurs is considered earthshaking. In Sweden, nothing occurs that is not multi partisan.
I will probably have some more comments on what all this means but one bit of news from today somehow seems to illustrate what kind of society results from the political climate here. There is a newspaper called Expressen and the publisher wanted to do a story about the alleged ease with which a person can acquire a gun in Malmö, the third largest city in the country and with a very high immigrant population, most of whom are crammed into basically a ghetto. The publisher sent a reporter to Malmö to see if he could buy a gun. Within 5 hours he had accomplished his mission when the story ran, the police apparently charged the publisher for possession of an illegal weapon and he is now on trial. It is probably more symbolic than anything, but nevertheless, what a country!
Well, okay, here are some pictures from today. The local amusement park is building a new state-of-the-something water slide, which I have yet to figure out exactly how it will work. But it definitely is an attention grabber when I bike by it twice a day to and from class.
The thing is still very much under construction but someone or something comes down this green and orange slide.
Can’t wait to try it this summer. Luckily, health care is free.



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