News You Really Need To See: “Sweden Strikes Deal to Avoid Vote Expected to Strengthen Far Right”

“Sweden Strikes Deal to Avoid Vote Expected to Strengthen Far Right”

The New York Times, December 28, 2014, p.A12

“Sweden’s mainstream political parties announced a deal on Saturday to preserve a minority center-left government, adopting the center-right’s budget for next year and thus avoiding early elections that looked to strengthen the far right.  The bargain, announced by Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, cancels the early elections he had announced for March, which would have been the first snap elections in Sweden since 1958.  The deal preserves the Lofven government, only three months old, which lost a key parliamentary vote when the anti-immigration Sweden Democrat party joined the center-right in refusing to support the government’s budget.  The Sweden Democrats became the third-largest party in the elections in September, winning 12.9 percent of the vote and riding a wave of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim feeling that has touched most of Europe’s traditionally liberal societies.  The importance of Saturday’s deal is to isolate the Sweden Democrats, who had said that they would use the proposed March elections as a referendum on immigration. The accord creates an accommodation among six parties that amounts to a deal on the budget that they were unable to reach earlier this month, causing the parliamentary defeat. … The arrangement is complicated, but it means that Mr. Lofven abandons his own government’s budget and follows the center-right’s budget, though he can make some changes in the spring.  After that, the center-right parties, which form the Alliance bloc, pledged to abstain from voting against the government’s budgets in a deal that is supposed to last until 2022.  The main parties also agreed to coordinate policy on pensions, defense and energy issues.”

Quickie Analysis:  It’s always nice to see moderates putting aside their differences to stymie the radicals.

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