chapter  7
20 Pages

Sweden

Minority government as the norm
WithJonas Lindahl, Johan Hellström, Hanna Bäck

Swedish coalition politics is markedly influenced both by a historically strong emphasis on near-unidimensional political conflict along the left-right economic dimension, the once-dominant position of the Social Democrats, and a negative parliamentarism system. These factors have contributed to most governments formed during the post-World War Two period comprising a minority of seats in parliament. Often, governments have been single-party Social Democrat cabinets, who have relied on support from one or more parties outside government. Swedish politics has long been characterized by “bloc politics”, where the socialist and the non-socialist bloc have competed for power. However, with the entry and growth of the populist radical-right party, the Sweden Democrats, the future of bloc politics has become more uncertain. Consequently, after the 2018 election, the formation of a centre-left, red-green government required drawn-out negotiations across and within the two blocs in order to obtain the necessary support of several non-socialist parties.