Source: AUN News
In the approaching elections here on September 11, the far-right Sweden Democrats have little chance of getting a majority, but you can still see them everywhere. Both centre-left and centre-right parties pledged increased policing and a crackdown on “segregation,” which is code for opposition to areas where the majority of residents are immigrants, on an August day when election posters were being placed on fences and lampposts. The sun blazed down with an unusual intensity for this region.
Sweden has been known for its excellent living standards, extensive social welfare system, and welcoming refugee policy since the second part of the 20th century. The Sweden Democrats have long been regarded as an outlier and a pariah party. So how did they end up having such a significant influence on the next elections?
In his most recent book, Den Avgörande Striden, Gellert Tamas, who has been writing on the Sweden Democrats since the party’s founding in 1988, explores that issue (The Decisive Battle). He recalls that the initial Sweden Democrats events featured “maybe 500 individuals doing the Nazi salute, chanting ‘Kill the Jews,’ and other things of that nature. Quite extreme. Although they wouldn’t describe themselves as a neo-Nazi Party, their Nazi heritage significantly impacted them. Then it started to alter gradually. Around the middle of the 1990s, they could draw in a fresh batch of right-wing students. They included four young students who later joined the party’s leadership group known as the Gang of Four and are in positions of authority today.
I never once imagined that the party—such a radical, overtly pro-Nazi party—would be accepted as a mainstream party and…that it may even be included in the government.
The centre-left Social Democrats of Sweden, who have received the most significant number of votes in every election since 1917, are once again in the lead, with a recent survey placing them at 27.8% of the vote. The Sweden Democrats, though, are in a distant second with 21.5 percent. The Social Democrats pose no threat of forming a coalition with far-right groups, but the Christian Democrats and the Moderate Party may do so.
If they did, it would end a long-standing taboo, the refusal of the major political parties in Sweden to form a coalition with the Sweden Democrats. However, in 2019, when Jimmy kesson, the head of the Sweden Democrats, and Ebba Busch Thor, the leader of the Christian Democrats, met, the divide between the centre-right and far-right groups started to dissolve.
Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network