Electoral meltdown for Sweden's Left Party?

Submitted by Anon on 22 August, 2006 - 12:54

According to the most recent opinion polls published in todays newspapers, the Left Party currently stand at 3.6%- the partys lowest level of support since April 1994. Parties require at least 4% of the overall national vote in order to gain representation in the Riksdag, so if this figure was repeated in the election on September 17th, the Left Party wold lose all of its 30 current seats in the Riksdag.

The drop in Left Party support has been dramatic. The party took 8.4% of the vote in the 2002 elections and immediatly after Lars Ohly became leader in November 2003, the partys opinon poll ratings stood at 11.3%. Ohly was subject to a stinging attack from the Swedish media after stating that he saw no shame in admitting he was a "communist" and allegations of Left Party collaboration with Eastern European Stalinist regimes in the 80's was dug up.

How much this has actually affected the Left Party vote is doubtful. Opinion poll ratings remained steady at around 8% through to the beginning of last year. It is only in the last year or so that Left Party support appears to have plummeted. This is very likely a knock on effect from the growing belief that the Social Democrats will lose power. Therefore many Left Party voters have rallied to the Social Democrats or even the Folk Party (liberals)- tactical voting in order to reduce the power of the main conservative parties.

A possibly even more worrying statistic from the recent opinion polls show that the far-right Sweden Democrats now command 1.6% of the popular vote and therefore have become the largest party not represented in the Riksdag. In the early nineties, after a severe economic crisis, the far right New Democracy gained several Riksdag seats. Clearly then, working class disilussionment with the main bourgeois parties and a drop in support for the Left Party goes hand in hand with the growth of the far right in Sweden.

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