Yesterday the left coalition, which includes the Social Democrats who have governed for 64 of the past 70 years, were narrowly defeated by the right alliance. The Social Democrats actually got more votes than any other party, but in multi-party system it’s the coalitions that matter.

It seems that the big issue in Sweden right now is unemployment, and the Social Democrats weren’t able to persuade the electorate that they had a plan to deal with it. The right alliance wants to reduce unemployment benefits and taxes, but I don’t see how this is going to create jobs.

The hardcore leftists are very sad and fear that this is the end of the Swedish economic model, but I don’t know. I mean, I’m a superhardcore lefty by US standards, but in Sweden the right parties are kind of like US Democrats, which is to say, I don’t particularly support them, but they don’t scare me.

On our corridor in the dorm there is one Swede who was taking the election really seriously. He voted for the Left Party. Last night around 8:30 he walked into the common room and said “fuck”. The exit polls were showing that the right alliance was going to win. One of the Polish students asked him if he would help her with her Swedish homework and he said “No, I don’t feel like it. I have to go calm down.” He was not visibly agitated, except for being a bit red in the face. Swedish self-composure, I guess. (I thought of my own reactions on the past two U.S. presidential election nights: wailing, crying.) He spent the rest of the evening wandering between his room and the common room, drinking beer and looking sad.