Swedish Election Odds Hint at Victory For Social Democrats

Swedish Election Odds Hint at Victory For Social Democrats
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The 2022 Swedish election is likely to result in prime minister Magdalena Andersson remaining in power, as betting sites predict a big win for the Social Democrats.

Sweden votes in the general election this September with candidates from the country’s typical rainbow of parties all vying for office. These parties range from right-wing populists like the Sweden Democrats through to the socialism of the Left Party.

As usual, Andersson’s Swedish Social Democratic Party and the conservative Moderate Party are dominating the polls heading into the autumn vote. But it is highly unlikely any single party will win a majority due to Sweden’s proportional representation voting system.

Instead, either alliances or minority governments are usually forged from the ballot box, with 349 seats up for grabs in the Riksdag.

And while both the Social Democrats and Moderates will be hoping to bounce back from losses in the previous election, neither is expected to command sole control of parliament in 2022.

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Sweden Election Betting

Indeed, political betting sites aren’t even drawing up markets on any sole party winning a majority. Instead, they are sticking to which party will win the most votes – and that is almost certain to be the Social Democrats.

UK bookmakers price a Social Democratic “victory” on 11 September at 1/20. To put that into perspective, those odds carry an implied probability of 95%.

The Moderates, meanwhile, have seen their odds inflate from 6/1 to 15/2 over the past four months as leader Ulf Kristersson fails to reduce the polling gap between the country’s two biggest parties.

Four years ago the Moderates won 70 seats in the Riksdag, compared to the Social Democrats’ 100. It reflected a drop for both parties but it was the Social Democrats who were able to appoint Stefan Löfven as prime minister.


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Andersson took over from Löfven last autumn after a fragmented parliament approved her appointment to prime minister by one vote. She has led the Red/Green alliance during this time, and her personal approval ratings are one of the highest for a world leader.

The latest Swedish politics polling data shows the Social Democrats with a commanding lead. In fact, they are currently polling at 32% compared to the Moderates’ 22% and the Sweden Democrats’ 17%.

And based on these polls it’s fairly clear why the bookies are banking on a Social Democrats win at the election. However, the concern for Andersson’s party is that there could be enough seats won by conservative and far-right parties to tip the balance of power towards them.

Indeed, Andersson’s odds of remaining Sweden’s PM aren’t as assured as the Social Democrats’ of winning the biggest share at the election.

Immigration, education and healthcare remain the core dividing issues in a country that has now come out of the Covid-19 pandemic. But what has given Andersson’s poll ratings the biggest shot in the arm is the government’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Riksdag was swift to begin discussions about the possibility of joining NATO and gaining greater protection from Russian aggression. There is a general desire amongst Swedes to join NATO but Andersson has put her career on the line by threatening to resign if opposition parties succeed in axing her justice minister.

This domestic wrangling has somewhat derailed the NATO discussions – but it’s seen by many conservatives as a viable avenue to recoup lost ground in the general election battle.

And because the government won’t necessarily be formed by the biggest party at this election, the conservative Alliance still has a chance to claim enough seats and secure a greater share of the Riksdag.

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How Sweden’s Elections Work

The Social Democrats may be on course to win the most seats in the Riksdag but that doesn’t mean they will secure a majority.

Indeed, a minority victory is almost guaranteed. In Sweden, elections are held to vote in 349 members of the Riksdag from constituencies across the country.

Whichever party boasts the most seats either forms a majority or minority government, or forms a coalition.

Generally, coalitions are split down right and left wings of the Riksdag. Right now, the Social Democrats are propped up by the Centre Party, Left Party, Greens and a sole independent member.

Their cohort makes up 175 seats, which is just enough to make a majority. The 174 opposition seats are currently made up of the Moderates, Sweden Democrats, Christian Democrats and the Liberals.

Sweden heads to the polls on September 11, 2022 and it is unclear who will be prime minister at the end of it all. Granted, the Social Democrats could well win the most seats, but if they cannot secure a majority through coalition then a Moderate/Sweden Democrat pact could sweep rival Ulf Kristersson to power.

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