Election Time in Sweden

It is elections in Sweden later this month. Swedish citizens (and some residents) are voting in parliamentary, regional, and municipal elections on the same day. Since I am no longer a Swedish resident, I am only allowed to vote in the parliamentary election. Non-Swedish citizens residing in a certain municipality since a few years are on the other hand allowed to vote in the local elections. (As opposed to here for example, where you have to be a U.S. citizen to vote in any election.) The reason for the rules around the local elections is of course that the largest share of people’s income taxes in Sweden goes to the municipalities, where also much of the government services are provided. And no taxation without representation!

I do believe that in a democracy, everyone has the responsibility to vote. It doesn’t mean that you cannot cast a blank ballot to show your disapproval with participating parties, but it is still important to go to the polls. However, it is difficult to know what to vote for after six years abroad and I am probably more familiar with U.S. politics by now than with the Swedish’ parties agendas. So I took a test in the Swedish newspaper SvD to see where I stand on the political spectrum. I normally dislike these tests because everyone who takes them always ends up being classified as a Folkpartist (a supporter of the People’s Party, which are increasingly becoming a populist party and whose policies I really dislike). I normally vote for the Environmental Party, who are are in the middle, but slightly to the left, but since they prior to this election have established a formal collaboration with parties even further to the left, I have been considering switching party. Now that I took the test, I was quite sure that it would place me further to the right because as an economist, I do have certain views on taxes and the market’s role in providing services that are more in line with the currently ruling non-leftist Alliance. But it seems like my environmentalist, feminist, and pacifist views out-weighted my views on taxes and charter schools, and the test concluded that my views are mostly in line with the Environmental Party. Not sure how accurate the test was though, because after the Environmental Party, apparently my views were apparently mostly in line with the Left (former Communist) Party… Anyway, next weekend, I am meeting up with a group of Swedes here, and we will go together to vote at the embassy in the House of Sweden, and after that have lunch in Georgetown. I am not sure if we will talk politics though. In Sweden it is kind of taboo to tell people what you vote for.

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