Support for Social Democrats to include Left

Sunday is the final day of the Almedalen week of heavy politics on the island of Gotland, and this year it’s the turn of Sweden’s largest party, the opposition Social Democrats, to be last out.

Party leader Stefan Löfven will be giving his speech at 11:00 AM, as many of the participating politicians, journalists, lobbyists and political junkies in general will be departing for the mainland.

With elections coming next year, and the opposition red-green parties maintaining a comfortable lead in the polls, this year the center-right party leaders called on the Social Democrats to disclose their post-election coalition plans. The party has been reluctant to do so, probably because shifting messages four years ago may have cost them the election then.

But Swedish Radio News reports that there is increasing support within the party to include the Left Party in a future coalition. Leif Nilsson, a city councillor from the Social Democrat stronghold Smedjebacken, in Dalarna, says “I think it’s the Greens and the Left we can work with.” Nilsson says the new Left leader Jonas Sjöstedt has been taking them in the right direction.

The Social Democrats took 59.4 percent of the vote in Smedjebacken all by themselves in the last election, but still chose to govern locally with the Left.

Four years ago, then party leader Mona Sahlin first rejected a pre-election pact with the Left (who have supported Social Democrat governments without themselves being in government), but was forced to back down under pressure from within the party.

The narrow upset loss in 2010 is often attributed to Sahlin’s perceived weakness as well as residual suspicion among some Swedes against the former Communist Left Party.