All leaders of the political parties in the Swedish parliament (Riksdagen) met yesterday in a debate. These kinds of debates are held a few times a year in Riksdagen.
The debate was very predictable for those who follow Swedish politics. The Social Democratic leader Mona Sahlin attacked the government for reducing the taxes mostly for rich people while unemployment benefits are reduced for the less prosperous. The representatives for the four parties in the government replied with the importance of creating more incitement for people to go from living on welfare subsidies to having their own salaries.
Mona Sahlin, chairman of the Social democrats and Member of Parliament
The government tried to turn it to a debate about the two alternatives in Swedish policy implying that “the other” alternative is blurry with three parties who want to go in different directions and with different pace. The opposition did not want to make it a debate between two alternatives; they wanted the government to answer for their program without comparison with the alternative.
Fredrik Reinfeldt, Prime Minister and Chairman of the Moderate Party (Photo: Pawel Flato)
The new leader for Folkpartiet tried to do his debut with humour. He wondered why Mona Sahlin was so angry when the Swedish economy is booming. He thought she should be smiling. Sahlin replied that she has noticed that the four leaders for the parties in the government seem to have very fun together but that it is of no comfort for those who get their unemployment benefit reduced to know that the government had fun when doing it.
Altogether it was a debate with hash words and accusation but also humour and laughter. Like most similar debates. There are however three years left to the next election.