Betting on politics: Sweden's unstable coalition

Is another general election on the way for Sweden? Political betting expert Matthew Partridge weighs up the odds.


Stefan Lfven of the Swedish Social Democrats
(Image credit: 2017 Getty Images)

For the past four months, Swedish politicians have been scrambling to produce a workable coalition out of an inconclusive election result, which saw the Social Democrats come top with 28% of the vote. The big problem was the fragmented nature of the result, complicated by the fact no one was willing to form a coalition with the far-right Sweden Democrats, who got 17.5% of the vote.

In the end the Social Democrats managed to get the parliamentary support of the Centre Party and Liberals (as well as the tacit support of the Left Party) by promising to implement many of their policies.

Indeed, the unstable nature of the coalitionis highlighted by thefact that, even withmany centrist parties abstaining, a pluralityof Swedish MPs voted against reappointing the incumbent PM, Stefan Lfven (pictured), just not enough to block his appointment. Betfair is running a market on whether there will be another general election in Sweden before the end of this year, with £29,742 already wagered by punters. You can get digital odds of six (16.7%) on there being an election, and 1.13 (88.4%) on the Swedish people going to the polls again in 2019.

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE

Get 6 issues free

Sign up to Money Morning

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Sign up

If this were Britain,I'd say there is no way that such an agreement could survive. But Sweden has a longer tradition of coalition governments, even minority coalitions (such as the new one). Given it took so long to negotiate, I'm sure it can survive until the end of the year, so I'd suggest you bet against a 2019 election.

Dr Matthew Partridge

Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.

He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.

Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.

As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.

Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri