torsdag 13 september 2018

Was the Swedish election result fiddled?

The rumour mill in Sweden is increasingly talking about election fraud. There is certainly a big discrepancy between the pre-election predictions and the result, particularly in the case of the Sverigedemokraterna (SD), which is about one-third down.

There were reports that there were no voting slips for the SD at many polling stations (there is a different slip for each party), and that counts and registration of votes may have been irregular. The government website crashed for over an hour after the election.

The Swedish voting system is complicated and the votes are not counted as they are in Britain. It does not happen under the eye of the public, as in Britain, where the ballot papers are sorted and counted in a large hall, closely watched by scrutineers from all the parties. Nor is there the exciting moment when the Returning Officer stands up to announce the result.

There is much wrong with the British first past the post system, where people vote for the major party or candidate they dislike least, but the nuts and bolts of the British election procedure are less vulnerable to tampering. The Swedish system lacks transparency. It needs to be changed before people lose confidence in it, and from that point, lose confidence in democracy itself.

Sweden is now saddled with a government that most people do not want, and which has failed to deal with the mounting number of problems in the country. Expect growing unrest. In the meantime – and an election may not be far off – expect increasing unrest and the rise of the genuinely nasty far right. This has created the situation that they feed on.

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