The Swedish elections delivered a great result for the left – but now the real work begins


Sweden went to the polls last week and the Social Democrats came out top with 31.2 per cent of the vote.

It was a remarkable achievement by the Social Democrats and their leader, former welder and IF Metall President Stefan Löfven, considering that only two years ago an election victory seemed almost impossible.

Together with our affiliates, LO gave great support to the campaign that helped Löfven become Prime Minister. Together, we made more than 220,000 phone calls to LO union members, while the LO leadership visited more than 240 workplaces.

LO’s 13 campaign films and two documentaries were viewed over 1 million times and news about the union election campaign has generated more than 4,500 press clippings.

The centre-right alliance, which has governed Sweden for the last eight years, has lost considerable support – particularly the conservative Moderate party of Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

The new government, which is currently being formed, will now have to deal with the great social injustices experienced by Swedish voters and observed by LO during the past eight years: increasing income gaps, high unemployment and a school system that does not fulfil its task.

Due to electoral gains made by the far-right Sweden Democrats, we now face a difficult parliamentary situation. Löfven, therefore, has a huge challenge ahead of him in trying to form a well-functioning government and we give him our wholehearted support in this task.

It is important to understand, however, that while the substantial result for Sweden Democrats is appalling, many of those voting for the SD are not racists.

These are simply people worried about where society is going, people suffering from the existing social gaps, injustices and unemployment.

It is by combating insecurity that we can also fight the Sweden Democrats.

We need policies for equality and security to hold Sweden together – otherwise discontent will continue to grow.


This is an edited version of an article originally published on the LO website.