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Swedish report Swedish report
by Euro Reporter
2010-09-13 07:40:09
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Reinfeldt coalition widens lead to 9.7%

Sweden’s ruling coalition has widened its lead over the opposition, according to an opinion poll before next week’s parliamentary elections, conducted by the pollster Sifo. Support for the four-party government rose to 51.7 percent from 50.1 percent of those polled, while backing for the three- party opposition coalition fell to 42 percent from 43.7 percent, the survey published on Sifo’s website showed.

Support for the Swedish Democrats, which isn’t in either bloc because of its restrictive views on immigration, rose to 4.6 percent from 3.6 percent. That’s more than the 4 percent needed for the party to get seats in the 349-member parliament for the first time, while not enough to become potential kingmakers.

The survey polled 1,435 Swedes between Sept. 6 and Sept. 9 and had a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points for Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s Moderate Party. The previous poll was conducted between Aug. 30 and Sept. 2.


Sweden is a better place to do business than the U.S.

Has it come to this? Sweden, that notorious bastion of socialism, is a better place to do business than the United States. So it has, at least according to the World Economic Forum (WEF), the outfit that puts on the big annual shindig for the rich and powerful in Davos, Switzerland. Two years ago, the united States were still number one in the WEF’s eyes. Then last year, Switzerland took over the top spot. Now both Sweden and Singapore have vaulted ahead.

The WEF surveyed 13,500 people in 139 countries to establish their rankings. The U.S. has lost ground due to both a “weakening of public and private institutions,” say the data crunchers. “Lingering concerns about the state of its financial markets” don’t help.

Sweden, by contrast, has “the world’s most transparent and efficient public institutions, with very low levels of corruption and undue influence.” Which loosely translated from wonk-speak sounds like, “You’re better off dealing with honest socialists than crony capitalists.”


Local Sweden Democrat: 'ban' practicing Muslims

A local politician from the far-right Sweden Democrats argued during an election debate on Thursday that Muslims shouldn't be allowed to practice their faith in Strömsund in north-western Sweden. “I don’t think someone should be allowed to be a practicing Muslim in Strömsund,” Sweden Democrat Mikael Säbom said on Thursday during a live election debate broadcast on Sveriges Radio Jämtland.

Since 2006, the town of just over 4,000 residents has taken in scores of Muslims from Uzbekistan in the wake of a 2005 crackdown by Uzbek government troops in Andijan in which hundreds of protesters were killed, although the exact number of casualties remains in dispute. At the time of the incident, known as the Andijan massacre, the Uzbek government claimed the demonstrations were organized by the Islamic radicals. Strömsund has seen a rise in hate crimes, from racist graffiti to the burning down of a mosque in the city two years ago.

Säbom, who stands at the top of the Sweden Democrats’ list of candidates for election to the local council, later refused to elaborate on his comments when approached by the newspaper. A spokesperson from the Sweden Democrats headquarters in Stockholm claimed that Säbon’s comments had been “misinterpreted”, but added that the party stands behind the politician’s argument. One of Strömsund’s estimated 150 practicing Muslims who wished to remain anonymous told Aftonbladet he’s “very worried” about the Sweden Democrats gaining seats in the Riksdag. The party’s number two candidate in Strömsund, Peter Dahlsted, nevertheless remained upbeat about the Sweden Democrats' prospects, claiming that the influx of Muslims from Uzbekistan was a major driver for growth in the party’s support locally. “Many come up to us and dare to say what they think,” he told Aftonbladet. “It mostly has to do with the Uzbeks; that they’re disruptive in one way or another.”

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