Simon blogs regularly at Polswatch – Ben
Sweden joined the European Union in 1995, two years after its formal establishment with the signing of the Maastricht Treaty. Sweden votes as a single constituency using a modified ‘Sainte-Laguë method of the highest average’ voting system. This is a system based on party list voting that uses a divisor, somewhat similar to the d’Hondt method of voting. The system has a minimum requirement of a 4% vote for a party to gain a seat. In 2009 Sweden will elect 18 MEPs, a reduction from the 19 they sent in 2004.
The results of the 2004 election saw seats allocated to the following parties:
- The Social Democratic Party: 5
- The Moderate Party: 4
- June List (A Eurosceptic Party): 3
- Left Party: 2
- Liberal Peoples Party: 2
- The Centre Party: 1
- The Greens: 1
- The Christian Democrats: 1
Whilst the dominance of the Social Democratic Party and the Moderate Party (Sweden’s two largest parties) will likely continue in the 2009 elections it looks likely that the makeup of the minor parties in this election will change rather dramatically. Here is what current polling shows about the major parties in the 2009 election:
- The Social Democratic Party (Party of European Socialists): Even though they lost government in 2006, the Social Democrats continue to outpoll all parties in Sweden and look likely to do so again in 2009. Current polling has the party ranging between 29-35% of the vote, which would most likely give the party an extra MEP.
- The Moderates (European People’s Party): The current governing party in Sweden (in an alliance called ‘The Alliance for Sweden’ with the Centre Party, The Liberal People’s Party and the Christian Democrats) the Moderates are the largest right wing party in Sweden. They too look likely to increase their vote in 2009, but not to the same levels as the Social Democrats.
- June List (Independence/Democracy): The June List was created as a ‘Eurosceptic’ party, focused around opposition to the adoption of the Euro in Sweden. Although they gained 14% of the vote in 2004 their support has collapsed since and they will not win any seats in 2009.
- The Left Party (Nordic Green Left): The Left Party is Sweden’s largest Socialist Party, with a long history of collaboration with the Social Democrats and Greens in Swedish Government. Whilst the Party gained 12% of the vote in 2004 it looks likely this vote will collapse to about 6%, leaving the party with only one seat.
- Liberal People’s Party (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe): A member of the Alliance for Sweden the Liberal People’s Party (or the FolkPartiet) advocates social liberalism and a strong commitment to a mixed economy. The party is currently around 8%, which would give them the two seats that they currently hold.
- The Centre Party (ALDE): Describing itself as a ‘green social liberal party’, the Center party is Sweden’s rural party and is a member of the Alliance for Sweden (currently holding the Deputy Prime Minister position). The party looks likely to hold at around the 5-6% mark, giving them one seat.
- The Greens (European Greens): The Greens are gaining extra support in Sweden and look likely to add to their one EU seat in 2004 with the possibility of a second or even third (although unlikely) seat
- The Christian Democrats: Sweden’s largest religious based party the Christian Democrats are a small force in Sweden, but will gain enough votes to win one seat in the EU Election
- The Pirate Party: Sweden’s fastest growing party; the Pirate Party strives to change laws regarding copyright and patents. Whilst extremely small in 2004, the issue of piracy has gained a large amount of attention in recent years giving the party a large amount of media coverage and support, especially amongst young people. It seems almost certain that the party will gain at least one seat in the 2009 election and possibly two.
Overall it seems like the situation in Sweden will see an increase in the vote for the two major parties, giving them 10-11 of Sweden’s 19 MEPs, the elimination of the June List and a rise in support for the Greens and the Pirate Party, continuing the left majority status in the Swedish delegation.