Swedes weigh choices before vote likely to boost far-right

Adjust Comment Print

"All the parties except two of them, I would say, have moved toward us", Markus Wiechel, a member of parliament for the Sweden Democrats and the party's foreign-policy spokesman, said the week before the vote.

The governing center-left bloc has a razor-thin edge over the center-right opposition Alliance, with roughly 40 percent each. Victory for the Sweden Democrats means that neither of these blocks got anything close to a parliamentary majority.

With 84.4 percent of votes counted, the Sweden Democrats had 17.6 percent of the vote compared to 28.4 for the Social Democrats, according to the Sweden public broadcaster SVT.

That same scenario has played out similarly in countries across Europe, where traditional left and right parties have employed similar strategies to regain voters from populist parties, largely without success.

The Sweden Democrats, led by Jimmie Akesson, links the country's rising crime rate to immigration, but official figures can't prove any correlation.

Like its far-right counterparts across Europe, the Sweden Democrats party has taken pains to move into the mainstream and, to a certain extent, tone down its rhetoric in order to appeal to a broader swath of the electorate.

Jimmie Åkesson, leader of the Sweden Democrats has later said: "I won't give any coalitions my party's support if they won't give us any power to influence policies after the Government is formed".

Final election returns were expected later in the week.

Susanne Madsen, 61, another Social Democrat voter, was confident Sweden's current prime minister, Stefan Löfven, would stay in place.

In Sweden, the influx of 163,000 asylum seekers in 2015 has polarised voters, and could give the Sweden Democrats, a party with roots in the neo-Nazi fringe, a veto over which parties form the next government.

L'émissaire de l'ONU réclame des "routes d'évacuation volontaires" — Idleb
Un hôpital situé aux abords de la localité de Hass a, en outre, été visé par une frappe ayant endommagé le bâtiment et du matériel.

The Sweden Democrats have been championing closed borders for years and want to severely restrict immigration and integration.

All the party leaders seem to agree on one thing: forming a government is going to take time.

Early indications suggest that the right-wing Sweden Democrats have made gains and could finish second or third.

The rise of the SD has been the main focus of coverage of the 2018 Sweden Election, with the global press writing the party's popularity into the narrative of the rise of anti-immigration populist parties in Europe.

In a very tight race, Sweden's centre-left bloc received 40.6 percent of the vote, slightly more than the centre-right bloc, which won 40.2 percent.

In stark contrast to the "formerly Communist" Left Party (which only got 7.9 percent of the vote in Sunday's election), the Sweden Democrats have been shunned by Sweden's intellectual establishment and have never been in a governing coalition. One no longer defines oneself as a social democrat so much as votes for the party based on contextual factors.

But the four-party Alliance rejected his invite, calling on Lofven to step down and make way for them to build a government.

Mattias, a Stockholm resident at an election night party in the city, said he was "extremely concerned" about the far right's steady climb since it entered parliament in 2006 with 5.7 percent. Other than that, little is known about the views of the party . Most notably, he's been an outspoken critic of the rising number of immigrants in Sweden.

At the party's rally on Saturday, Akesson strongly criticised Lofven's government for "prioritising" the cause of immigrants over the needs of citizens. Such a government is already in place in Denmark, where the center-right Venstre is in government with the backing of the further right Danish People's Party. Emilia Orpana said she and another party supporter were threatened by two young men who called them 'damned racists'. If he loses that, the speaker of parliament presents a new candidate to become prime minister.

Comments