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POLITICS

Swedish town to hold re-election after postal mix-up

A municipality in central Sweden must hold a second election due to ballots being delivered late in the election of September last year.

Swedish town to hold re-election after postal mix-up
Ballot papers are sorted in a polling station. Photo: Johan Nilsson / TT

In Falu municipality, votes cast by 145 people were not included in the count after the bag containing them was delivered late, as The Local reported at the time.

The votes in question were placed before the official polling day of September 9th: in Sweden, some polling stations open in the weeks leading up to election day, allowing voters to cast their ballots in advance.

But these papers arrived at the electoral office a day late and several hours after counting had begun, meaning that they could not be counted.

The result of the municipal election was appealed to the Swedish Election Review Board, which has now decided to call a re-election in Falu.

“I think it's frustrating because obviously it will have a much greater effect on the outcome than if it had just been decided to recount these votes,” Falun municipal councillor Joakim Storck of the Centre Party told SVT Dalarna. He said there would be more information about the board's decision on Thursday.

The new election must be held no more than three months from the decision, meaning it will be held in May at the latest.

Elections were held at the municipal, regional, and national level in September last year, with the general election producing a very close result that led to political deadlock for several months. In January, the centre-left Social Democrats struck a deal with two former opposition rivals that allowed them to continue in government with the Green Party.

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ENERGY

Sweden’s government: ‘turn down the heating to cut risk of power outages’

Sweden's energy minister Ebba Busch has called on people in the country to reduce their heating by 1˚C and halve their use of hot water in order to reduce electricity demand over the winter.

Sweden's government: 'turn down the heating to cut risk of power outages'

Busch said that with one nuclear reactor at Oskarshamn shutting down for repair for ten days on Friday, one reactor at Ringhals shut down for repair until February and another Ringhals reactor set to be shut down for repair on the weekend, Sweden’s electricity system was entering a tight situation. 

“The risk of a higher electricity price is greater and there’s a greater risk of power cuts in southern Sweden,” she said. 

She then called on citizens to do what they can to help reduce their power risk to increase the resilience in the system. 

“The risk of power outages reduces significantly if we can cut electricity use by two percent, and that’s about how much we can save ourselves just in the housing sector by cutting or reducing by one degree, or halving our use of hot water,” she said. 

“We need to do what we can to flatten the curve. I realise this is tough. We’ve just gone through a difficult, long, drawn out, pandemic when it was essential we all did our part, and now we find ourselves in another crisis where what we do as individuals can make a difference.” 

“I’m very thankful to all the households who have done everything they can over the autumn to reduce electrity use. It has had an effect on the crisis,” she added. 

She said that the government would continue with its national campaign to save electricity, adding that “every kilowatt counts”. 

Before Busch spoke, prime minister Ulf Kristersson warned that the crisis in the electricity system was “relatively acute” 

Lotta Medelius-Bredhe, director general of Svenska Kraftnät, Sweden’s grid operator, said that it was unlikely that there would be any power outages. 

“This is not something which we see as really looming,” she said, but she acknowledged that there would be “extremely high prices”.

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