Swedish PM defiant despite far-right election surge
Swedish PM defiant despite far-right election surge
Sweden goes to the polls with far-right group with neo-Nazi roots tipped to become largest party
11 September, 2018, 07:40
Under different circumstances, its vote share of around 4.7% would put it in the position of kingmaker.
Rather than copying the far-right's emotional appeals toward identity and its criticism of the state, mainstream parties should offer voters fresh alternatives, Berman said. However, in 2006 the party lost to the center-right Alliance for Sweden and wouldn't regain control of the government until 2014. Another impressive feat is that although the party was founded only 30 years ago and had roots in the country's fascist and white nationalist movements, it still managed to triple its support in just two election cycles. They write that the nature of the result means the parties will have to seek new allies.
When 17.6 percent of the electorate in a sensible country like Sweden vote for an outsider party, the political elite should sit up and take notice. Anti-migrant parties in Germany, Austria, Denmark, France, Hungary, Italy and the United Kingdom have all made gains in recent years.
Social Democratic Prime Minister Stefan Löfven's red-green left bloc now has a razor-thin one-seat lead over the centre-right opposition Alliance, with almost 200,000 ballots from Swedes who voted overseas still to be counted on Wednesday. The result was largely in line with the conventional opinion polls but below the 20 percent or more figure that some surveys had predicted.
At a rally after the polls had closed, Lofven said he would remain in office in the coming weeks and called for cooperation across the political divide.
Both sides laid claim to being best placed to form a government, although votes from Swedes living overseas are not due to be declared until Wednesday and these could still sway the final outcome slightly.
Akesson's remarks, and the raw tone unusual in Swedish debates, triggered a wave of criticism in media and political spheres.
"I believe that it must be the largest party in Sweden that forms a government". The opposition parties that make up the so-called Alliance bloc had 39.6 per cent, while the Sweden Democrats garnered 19.2 per cent. No other party will consider the anti-migrant hard-right group in any form of coalition.
Note: The Left (V) is treated as part of the broad Red-Green bloc, but it is not part of the incumbent Social Democrat/Green Party government.
On the centre right, the Conservatives could potentially work with the Liberals, the Centre Party and the Christian Democrats.
What sets the Sweden Democrats apart is their appeal to the Nordic equivalent of the Trump electorate: their support comes disproportionately from men, the less educated, middle-income earners, the self-employed, and (especially) people with blue collar jobs.
"The parties who have been true to their ideological grounds ― they are the only parties who have raised in support".
An exit poll has indicated that Sweden's first general election since the Scandinavian country accepted a significant number of asylum-seekers was likely to have the centre-left party governing now as its victor, with an anti-immigrant party with white supremacist roots coming second.
Akesson's strong rhetoric has shocked many Swedes since the country has a long tradition of helping those in need. An exit poll ranking the issues citizens placed at the top of their agenda saw classic welfare topics such as healthcare, education, gender equality, law and order and elderly care come out on top. So it would have to be some sort of government that had the participation or support of the Social Democrats and maybe the Greens too. It could also be read as a damning verdict on the current government, which appears to have failed to deliver the quality of public services Swedes expect.
With an eye on the European Parliament elections next year, Brussels policymakers are watching the Swedish vote closely, concerned that a nation with impeccable democratic credentials could add to the growing chorus ofeuroscepticism in the EU.
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