Time for a new left alliance?

Submitted by Anon on 5 September, 2006 - 9:00

Regardless of the political issues at stake in the elections, the right wing have one clear advantage and that is clear commitment to a governing alliance which will carry out an agreed common programme. By voting for any of the right wing parties, voters pretty much know what it is they are voting for. The same cannot be said of the left parties.

The Social Democrats, Greens and Left Party have their own programmes and it is to be assumed by voters that if they compromise a majority in the Riksdag then they will form a similar kind of loose coalition that they have been for the last four years. The Social Democrats have horse traded with the Greens and Left Party on certain issues in return for support for their overall programme.

However, the Greens have stated that this time they will not support any government of which they are not a member. A brave step but a principled one, and one which the Left Party would do well to consider following. At worst this would leave the Social Democrats unable to govern even with a left majority in the Riksdag. But without a majority of their own, the right could not take power and elections would have to be re-held. Clearly in such a situation the credibility of the left would be damaged and many voters would switch to the right parties.

For too long the Left Party have allowed themselves to be blackmailed by the Social Democrats. If the Left Party were to assert itself and refuse to support the Social Democrats unless it was part of a coalition government it would be demanding no less than the smaller parties of the right have won from the Moderates. It would be then up to the Social Democrats to decide whether they would rather rule in coalition with the left or allow the right to take power.

Of course a left coalition government would not be the solution to all of the problems of the Swedish working class. Indeed, it is likely that many in the Left Party would cave in under pressure from the Social Democrats within such a government and move rightwards.

The question for the Left Party then becomes: should it look to form a new left alliance with the Greens and let the Social Democrats continue their rightward drift alone?

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