Man with glasses in front of a map of the world.
Mats Karlsson, director of the Swedish Institute of International Affairs Credit: Ulla Engberg/Sveriges Radio

Can Sweden learn lessons from the German election?

Institute director: It demands new ways of governing
4:10 min

"The issues that impacted the German election are similar to the issues we are facing in Sweden," says the director of the Swedish Institute for International Affairs.

After the German election, several Swedish politicians draw parallels to the upcoming elections that will be held here next year.

”The issues that impacted the German election are similar to the issues we are facing in Sweden. Like: How do you run a stabile government? What is the balance between austerity and investment? How do you reconcile the desire to be open for refugees and at the same time make sure that your labour market works well in the face of different migrational movements? How are you innovative in a small country in a very globalized economy?" says Mats Karlsson, director of the Swedish Institute for International Affairs.

He thinks the issues demand "new ways of governing across the old competing barriers between the centre-right and the centre-left".

At the same time, the parties that were part of such a grand-coalition in Germany, the conservative CDU and the Social Democrats, did the worst election for almost 70 years. Wouldn't that be enough to scare off the Swedish parties from doing the same thing before or after the election next year?

"I think they are very apprehensive about what awaits them and what the voters will do. One cannot dismiss the forces that are behind the extremist, nationalist and populist parties. There is something going on in our societies that we have to understand better," he said.

"But at the same time, more than 80 per cent of the population stand for something that surely can be compromised around, and that should not be lost," he said.

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