Mixed results for Swedes in Norway

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Swedish voters in Norway seemed to be left with a mixed bag of election results, after Sweden’s non-socialist incumbent alliance ended up with a minority position in government on Sunday and the opposition claimed there were no clear winners. Norway’s own left-center government coalition also had its hopes dashed of getting a like-minded government next door.

Tattered election campaign posters in downtown Stockholm preceded a tattered election result. PHOTO: Views and News

Thousands of Swedes living and working in Norway had streamed to the Swedish Embassy in Oslo to cast their absentee ballots last week, and informal exit polls had indicated that many supported re-election of Sweden’s Conservative-led coalition called Alliansen.

Instead, Alliansen looked set to claim 172 seats in Parliament while the Labour-led opposition coalition won 157 and the anti-immigration party SD won 20. That robbed Alliansen of a clear majority and shook up both the mainstream left- and right sides of Swedish politics, since neither of them want anything to do with SD.

Mona Sahlin, leader of the Swedish Labour Party who lost badly on Sunday, immediately challenged the head of the Conservatives (Moderaterna), Fredrik Reinfeldt, who’s likely to remain as prime minister, instead of saying she’d quit. She claimed the election was “without a winner” and challenged Reinfeldt to limit SD’s “anti-foreigner” politics and influence in parliament.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who heads Norway’s own Labour Party, had campaigned for Sahlin in Sweden and was bound to be disappointed by her loss. The Swedish and Norwegian political parties tend to have close ties and support one another on a Scandinavian basis.

Many Swedish voters in Norway had expressed dissatisfaction with Sahlin and were likely glad she lost, even though they were left with a less-than-clear victory for the other side that they seemed to support. Few had expressed any support for the anti-immigrant SD, perhaps because they’re immigrants of sorts in Norway themselves.

Reinfeldt, meanwhile, was prepared to form a new government and sought support from an environmentally oriented party that had been part of the socialist alliance. With around 2 million absentee ballots left to be counted, though, he said final election results may not be firm for several days.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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