voting in the swedish elections, where everyone is to the left

I wrote a post for Currents Online this week pondering my options as a first time Swedish voter.  This is relevant to Daddyland when you realize that almost every single Swedish political party is to the left of the Democrats in the US.  Or to reverse it, almost every American politician would qualify as “far right” here in Sweden.

So there are no threats to Daddyland, to the welfare state, to the safety net.  There are big differences in how each party wants to balance the safety net versus opportunity, jobs, etc.   And if the Social Democrats return to power, they are likely to vastly increase the number of “daddy only” parental leave days, forcing more men to stay home longer, a pure case of social engineering that I both support and feel queasy about.  The current center-right government is more in favor of things like the “equality bonus” that couples get for splitting their leave.

But consider that.  The right wing government put in an equality bonus!

Here is a quote from my post:

In less than two weeks, I will vote in a Swedish election for the first time. I am not a citizen, so I am not eligible for the national election, but I do get to vote in the local and county-level contests.

The Swedish campaign season is nothing like an American one.  For one, there are way more posters – big, full color posters stapled everywhere. But also, you get so much actual information.  The parties print manifestos, they write op-eds, and there is a seemingly endless series of substantive TV appearances, all focused on real issues that affect real Swedes.

It makes one long for American flash and pop, for nasty attack ads.  Or not.

In fact my new voting rights have focused my mind on both Swedish politics and the vast gulf between the American and Swedish political worlds.

It can be tricky.  The parties have similar labels as American ones.  There are the four parties in the governing coalition on the “right” – the Moderate Party, the Center Party, the Liberal Party and the Christian Democrats.  And then you have three parties on the “left” – the Social Democrats, the Green Party and the Left Party.

But do not be fooled.  The Social Democrats are not like the American Democratic Party.  And the Moderates are not like the Republicans.

On Sweden.se you can find short party descriptions.  Try guessing which party this describes:

‘The XXXX Party today describes its politics as “green liberalism” and also attracts urban voters. Core issues for the party are entrepreneurialism, jobs, care for the environment and the climate. The party is pro-immigration and stands for openness and diversity.’

Sounds like a left-wing Democrat to me.  Must be the former communists, right?  But, nope, it’s the description of the Center Party, which happens to be in the current center-right coalition.

Finish reading it here.

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