It was only a matter of time…
The Swedish government is now proposing emergency powers: high mortality is forcing a complete reversal
The opposition caused the government to modify its first proposal and its passage is not yet certain.
On Saturday , the SWEDISH government passed a bill that would also give it extensive emergency powers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The reason given is the possible need to take major decisions in a “very short time”, in which case the exemption laws would not have time to be dealt with in the normal way.
The bill would give the government “within the framework of the constitution” exceptional powers regarding the fundamental rights of citizens and, for example, the trade in medicines, the distribution of medicines, the closure of shopping centers and restaurants, and the closure of airports, ports and transport links.
The government must justify why decisions are necessary because of the pandemic. The derogation would last for three months.
THE SHOW has sparked a lively debate in Sweden. SVT said Saturday night that the opposition would be damming the powers proposed by the government.
According to SVT and Dagens Nyheter, for example , the government would tend to change its proposal: in the new formulation, the government would in principle have the power to make quick decisions alone, but each decision should include a proposal to the Swedish parliament as soon as possible.
In practice, therefore, the government could close airports, for example, immediately by its own decision, but if the parliament were to repeal the decision, the airports would be reopened immediately.
The government hopes the parliament will consider the bill “as soon as possible”.
THE PROPOSAL marks a rather complete turn in Sweden, where interference with citizens’ fundamental rights has been behind a higher threshold than, for example, in Finland.
The complete reversal is due to alarming mortality rates: according to official figures, more than 370 people died of coronavirus-induced covid-19 disease in Sweden by Sunday morning, compared with 25 in Finland.