Vital Signs

Daddies and the Swedish State

The Mercy Killing of Socialism, launched so hopefully throughout Central and Eastern Europe in 1991, has failed. Most visibly, Polish voters returned the communists to parliamentary control in 1993, while Russia swung toward a version of National Socialism. Even in the smaller but symbolically important nation of Sweden, the "conservative revolt" sparked by right-wing election victories in September 1991 has ground to a halt.

For a while, all things seemed possible. as Swedish voters appeared to repudiate the widely admired "Third Way." The Social Democrats, who had ruled Sweden with few interruptions from 1972 to 1991, found their voting strength reduced to 37 percent, the lowest figure since the 1920's. Today, however, polls show the socialists claiming 50 percent of would-be voters, a historic high, while the "Green" and "Left" (read communist) parties pull another 7 percent. Meanwhile, the four-party "bourgeois coalition" government—composed of the Moderate Party (formerly the Conservative Party), the Center Party (formerly the Agrarian Party), the Peoples Party, and the Christian Democrats—has lost nearly a fifth of its support, falling to 38 percent. With elections set for early autumn, few doubt that socialism will soon be back in control.

This conservative coalition blames its troubles on a four-year-long recession, caused by past socialist excesses...

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