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How Sweden’s government deal has hit the popularity of political parties

Sweden finally got a new government this week after 131 days of deadlock. In order to get there, several parties had to compromise, and a four-party deal was struck between former rivals. So how has the new agreement affected the popularity of the different political parties?

How Sweden's government deal has hit the popularity of political parties
Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven (centre) presents his new government. Photo: Anders Wiklund / TT
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Several of the political parties have seen significant changes in their membership figures after what's been called the January Deal (januariavtalet) in Sweden.

The deal paved the way for a Social Democrat-Green Party government with passive support from the Centre and Liberal Party in exchange for agreement on several policy points, such as changes to rental regulations, tax changes, and the introduction of language and civics tests for would-be citizens.

The biggest intake of new members have been reported by the Christian Democrats and Moderate Party, whose leaders described the deal as “absurd” and “an unholy alliance” after their two former allies agreed to allow a Social Democrat-led government.

READ ALSO: Who's who in Sweden's new government?

Who's who in Sweden's new government?
Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

The centre-right Alliance (made up of the Moderates, Christian Democrats, Centre Party and Liberals) broke down after both they and the centre-left bloc failed to reach a majority. The Centre and Liberals refused to support a government that relied on support from the far-right Sweden Democrats, while the other two Alliance parties were prepared to accept this support.

Christian Democrat party secretary Peter Kullgren said his party had received 1,500 new members since the deal was first announced on January 11th.

“I think it's down to the fact that we as a party, and not least our party leader [Ebba Busch-Thor], have stood firm in the government negotiations and kept to the same line before and after the election,” Kullgren told the TT news agency.

The Moderate Party meanwhile reported an increase of around 1,000 new members.

The Left Party, who were not a part of the deal but reluctantly agreed to offer 'passive support', also appear to have gained.

According to their party secretary, membership figures are at their highest level since the early 1960s, with a boost of nearly 600 new members in the past two weeks.

The final party not included in the deal, the far-right Sweden Democrats, said they had received around 150 new members during the same period.

As for the parties included in the deal, neither the Green Party (who are part of the government with the Social Democrats) nor the Liberal Party shared their membership figures for 2019.

The Social Democrats reported an increase of members throughout January without giving a figure, while the Centre Party said they had received around 100 membership applications but had also seen some members cancel their membership.

READ ALSO: What does Sweden's government deal mean for internationals in Sweden?

What does Sweden's government deal mean for internationals in Sweden?
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Opinion polls however have remained mostly stable despite the turbulence during the ongoing negotiations. 

A survey carried out by Ipsos for Dagens Nyheter showed only minor changes since before the election, but slight improvements in poll ratings for the Social Democrats and losses for the Moderate Party.

The Social Democrats were polling at 30 percent, according to the survey, a two point decrease from the previous month but still above the election result of 28.3 percent, which was its lowest share of the vote in over a century.

Meanwhile, support for the Moderates remained at 18 percent, the same level as December, while the Sweden Democrats also remained stable at 18 percent. In the election, they received around 20 and 17 percent of the vote respectively.

The Christian Democrats were down at seven percent, a slight decrease from December, while the Centre Party and Liberals saw slight increases to eight and five percent respectively, close to the support they received in the election. The Left Party remained at the same level as in December, at eight percent.

However, it is still too early to be able to predict what the long-term consequences of the January Deal and new government will be, both for the political parties and for Swedish society in general.

Member comments

  1. “… the far-right Sweden Democrats, said they had received around 150 new members during the same period.” I ask, then, who are the “far left” party or parties?

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Sweden’s emissions to rise as budget relaxes green targets to fight inflation

Sweden's government conceded that greenhouse gas emissions would rise in the short term as a result of budget decisions, but insisted they would fall in the long term.

Sweden's emissions to rise as budget relaxes green targets to fight inflation

The conservative administration, run by the Moderates and backed by far-right Sweden Democrats (SD), announced that greenhouse gas emissions would increase by 2030, at least in part owing to heightened tax relief on fuels.

Stockholm wants to reduce fuel and diesel taxes to ease price rises, which peaked last December at 12 percent year-on-year and have hammered Swedes’ purchasing power.

“Following decisions taken between July 1st, 2022 and July 1st, 2023, emissions are expected to increase by 5.9 to 9.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2) by 2030, but decrease long term by 1.8 million tonnes by 2045,” according to the draft budget.

Transport emissions notably are set to rise by 3.6 MtCO2 to 6.5 MtCO2 by 2030.

The government said it would not be possible to achieve transport objectives as the reduction in fuel tax notably “contributes to an increase in their consumption, an increase in traffic and a delayed electrification” of on-road vehicles.


The slashing of those taxes will shrink contributions to the Swedish treasury by around 6.5 billion kronor or some $600,000.

“It will be cheaper to refuel your car,” said Oscar Sjöstedt, an SD lawmaker who helped to draft the budget. The party “will continue to work for a reduction in fuel taxes”, he added.

Sweden has fixed a target of reaching net zero by 2045, five years ahead of an EU target.

“Sweden will pursue an ambitious and effective climate policy which will make it possible to achieve climate objectives,” Climate Minister Romina Pourmokhtari told Dagens Nyheter.

But Green lawmaker Janine Alm Ericson said the budget comprised “a catastrophe for the climate”.


Greenpeace also criticised the budget as appearing to under prioritise the greening of the economy.

Anna König Jerlmyr, former Stockholm mayor for the Moderates, also criticised the budget for “falling short” in the field of climate.

“We must work to reduce emissions in Sweden, not increase them,” she wrote in a LinkedIn post. “Totally opposite the goals of the Paris agreement.”

Sweden’s independent Climate Policy Council earlier this year criticised the government for policies which it predicted would at least in the short term raise rather than cut emissions.

Article by AFP’s Etienne Fontaine