We can govern with Left – Persson

The Social Democrats could form a formal coalition with the Left Party after the next election, prime minister Göran Persson has said.

Persson told TT that he was keeping the question of an alliance with the far-left grouping open.

It depends very much on what happens over the next year, and on how the election campaign and debate around it progresses.”

The Left Party, whose leader Lars Ohly has described himself as a communist, has made it clear that it wants to be part of a coalition. The government currently relies on the Left Party’s votes in parliament, but has not given the party any formal role in government.

Persson said he would not make a cast iron promise to Ohly before the election.

“I don’t plan to lock myself into a position that would mean that Sweden cannot be governed.”

He portrayed the questions over the shape of potential coalitions as “a meaningless parlour game.”

Asked whether it would be good for the voters to know the score ahead of an election, Persson replied that he had the same answer now as in 1998 and 2002:

“I am standing for election on a Social Democrat manifesto and seek support for a Social Democratic government.”

Persson chose his words carefully when commenting on the Left Party’s policies and the decisions made at its recent congress. He would only comment that both “left a lot to be desired, to say the least.”

But Persson welcomed the truce between the Left Party factions achieved at the congress. The worst thing that can happen to a party, he said, is for uncertainty to exist about who leads it.

“I think it’s very important that Lars Ohly has authority within the party, so that we know that when we speak to him on various issues, we know he represents his party,” argued Persson.

“I think now that it feels as though Lars Ohly is chairman of his party – this has been quite a turbulent period.”

TT/The Local