Mon Oct 12th, 2015 at 05:54:29 PM EST
Decemberöverenskommelsen (DÖ) - The December deal is being buried in Sweden. That is the name of the deal that prevented new elections in Sweden after last autumn's cabinet crisis in Sweden that followed the rather inconclusive elections. The deal that was supposed to last until 2022 did not last a year.
So is the crisis back on? Not at all.
Promoted by DoDo
What has happened is that the Christian Democrats have had a revolt on their congress, with the congress voting to rip up the agreement. The party leadership has thus declared the agreement to be void and the other party leaders in the right bloc have confirmed that the deal is over.
So how does this not cause a return to the budget crisis? Well, because in the meantime parties in the right bloc have presented different budgets. Which in all likelihood means a return to the pre-2014 practice of the opposition parties presenting different budgets, each voting for their own and then abstaining in the final vote between the largest opposition party's budget and the budget of the government.
Essentially the right bloc has backed down from the position in the fall of 2014 that they should present a common budget as the Alliance, which means there is no need for a deal.
So, why did they present a common budget in the first place? Well, they promised to in the election, but why did they do that?
Fokus magazine, which is very good when it comes to the wheeling and dealing in Swedish politics - and horrendously neoliberal and Serious on everything else - did an expose on the run-up to Decemberöverenskommelsen in February. While it contains a lot, this is in my mind the most interesting gem:
En osvensk politisk historia - Fokus
Efteråt är det inte många som velat tala om det, men indicierna finns där. Sent på sommaren spreds från statsrådsberedningen en talepunkt som löd: Förlorar vi valet åker Fredrik till Täby och återvänder när Löfvens regering har fallit. Efter valdagen kom samma budskap från finansdepartementet: Anders kommer inte kandidera till partiledare, men kan komma tillbaka - som finansminister. Runt de två personer som varit moderaterna, Fredrik Reinfeldt och Anders Borg, fanns en idé att trots avgångsbeskeden ändra sig om allt kom i ny dager. Ingen av dem skaffade heller några nya uppdrag som kunde riskera ett sådant scenario.
Fredrik Reinfelt and Anders Borg were ready to return as PM and FM after Löfvén's government had fallen. That is why they resigned immediately, did not get new jobs, and scheduled the election of a new party leader for March.
Essentially they were counting on the Sweden Democrats to play the same role for the Alliance (the right wing bloc) that the Communists did for the Social Democrats during the Cold War - de facto support through not voting with the other side, while always kept at arms length from power. Just as it meant Social Democrats as the default government through the Cold War Decades, it would mean the Alliance as default now.
Except that backfired when the Sweden Democrats declared - just before voting the Alliance budget through - that they would always vote for the other alternative as long as there was not a government that gave them what they wanted on immigration. And then it backfired again when the Social Democrats declared that they would call snap elections.
This also explains the rather strange "Open your hearts" speech that PM Reinfeldt chose to open the election season with. In it, he made immigration the main policy up for debate, and confirmed the Sweden Democrats worldview that we can not afford welfare because of the refugees, and then proceeded to declare that we should accept them anyway. At the time it looked rather puzzling as the obvious beneficiary was the Sweden Democrats, but if one looks at Sweden Democrats as de facto support votes for an Alliance government, it makes perfect sense. At the time the red-greens had a majority in the polls, so making the election about immigration and positioning the Moderates and the Sweden Democrats as opposites is only logical.
In the end it did not work, but had it worked Reinfeldt would not only have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, but he would have transformed the Swedish political landscape and made the Alliance the default government option. Possibly for decades.