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Mar 272014

(All links -unfortunately- go to Swedish language sites)

At the European Parliament elections in 2009 the participation ratio increased to 45.53 % from 37.85 % in 2004. Not a very encouraging figure but nevertheless a clear increase. For 2014 a low participation has been foreseen. However the latest opinion poll has been interpreted to show a participation ratio of about 50 % which would be about the officially stated government goal as expressed by EU-Minister Birgitta Ohlsson.

That, of course, would mean some progress. But strangely enough the Prime Minister shows an evasive attitude. He points out that it is much more important to vote for the government and local administrations, taxes and so on. Those factors will have an effect on the life of all Swedish inhabitants and are therefore much more important than “the 20 seats in the European Parliament“.

Already in 2009 the Prime Minister expressed his opinion that ““the voters are rational, they realize that the EU election is not (as) decisive for their everyday life and for the future.” He continued to say that there is a “tremendous difference” between national parliamentary elections and elections to the EP since the EP “has no influence on formation of government or influence”

What could be the motives behind this extraordinary position, particularly at this time when the EP has got real power and provides an effective counterbalance to the generally myopic and nationalistic approach of the Council? One factor is certainly that a high participation ratio will be to the disadvantage of the largest parties, both the Moderates in government and the opposition social democrats. In 2009 this was largely to the benefit of the Pirate Party (and earlier to the peculiar “Junilistan”). In 2014 it is likely that mainly the Left Party and unfortunately also the fascist Sweden Democrats will advance att the expense of the two big parties. Possibly also the Greens, although this is less certain. Interestingly we may also expect a good performance from the Peoples Party which is very weak nationally but has a high EU-profile through the popular top candidate Marit Paulsen as well as the EU-Minister Birgitta Ohlsson.

There is another factor at play. In a special committee in the Swedish Parliament the Government has to go through a sometimes awkward negotiation procedure with the other parties, mainly the Social Democrats, in order to arrive at an official Continue reading »