As you read this I'm somewhere in the Carribean sea with my family. Today Shane is on the blog. Enjoy.....and thank-you Shane.
I was thrilled to be asked by Valerie to write a few posts for learnsweden blog whilst she is sunning herself in the tropics! Its almost tropical here its a full 2 degrees which is a massive improvement on the minus five or so it seems to have been in Sweden since Christmas. Anyway I digress....
I have been keeping a blog on my life in Sweden for over a year now and always have plenty to say but when you are put on the spot to write something its a little difficult. I have been thinking what I can write about that Valarie hasn't already blogged about...there isnt much.
This may surprise you but I have decided to write a little about Swedish politics. I mean, after Obama everyone is interested in politics again right? ;-)
Seriously though I think its important to take an interest in the politics of a country where you may be living or spending a lot of time.
If you are a Brit like me, or come from the US or Australia then Swedish politics is refreshing. Why? Well, back home I have a choice of two Parties and thats it whereas there are many in Sweden to choose form representing most ideas and philosophies.
In the next government election there are at least 7 Parties in the running, so not just a choice of an 'Obamasson' or a 'McCainqvist,' you can vote for a Reinfeldt, a Sahlin, a Björklund, an Olofsson, an Ohly, a Hägglund, an Eriksson, and a Wetterlund.
Traditionally Sweden has always voted in large numbers for the Social Democratic Party. Sweden was virtually a one Party state during the 20th Century. It worked on the basis of a socialism with compassion. Sweden has a very strong Trade Union movement and welfare state.
In 2006 the Social Democrats lost the election to an alliance of Centre/Liberal/Centre Right parties. The current Statsminister or Prime Minister is the leader of the 'Nya Moderaterna' or 'new Moderates' his name is Fredrik Reinfeldt. The Foreign Secretary is Carl Bildt who was Prime Minister of Sweden, the last time the Social Democrats lost in the early nineties. He is well known for his involvement in the former Yugoslavia during the troubles there. A lady called Maud Olofsson is leader of the Centre Party (Centerpartiet) and is the Energy and Enterprise Minister. The Education Minister is Jan Björklund who is leader of the Folkpartiet Liberalerna (Liberal Peoples Party). Göran Hägglund is Minister for Health and Social Affairs he is also leader of the Christian Democrats.
Coalition or co-operative politics is something I have never seen in Britain so its interesting to see how it works. I think its refreshing that you have four parties that are running the country because a) it puts a check on any extremism and b) four heads are better than one right?
The next election is 2010, lining up on the other side is Mona Sahlin who is head of Swedens biggest Party - the Social Democrats. She has also put together an alliance to fight the Alliance Government. It comprises of Lars Ohly, leader of the Left Party (former Communists) and the Greens (Wetterlund and Eriksson - they have two leaders!) they are known as the Rödgröna.
There are many differences between the two camps. To give you an example as you have probably read Saab cars are facing bankruptcy - the Alliance Government are refusing to bale it out on the grounds that they were not elected to support a failing company but to concentrate on health, education and the police.
On the other hand the Rödgröna want the government to invest millions in Saab to get it working again.
If you are from the EU then you are entitled to vote in the next major elections which are in June this year, the European Elections. You can either vote in Sweden or your home country. Personally I will be voting here in Sweden as this is where 'home' has been since January 2008. Who will I vote for? Tricky one but it wont be the rödgrona ;-)