Far Right Sweden Democrats Vow to Exert ‘Real Influence’ after Some Election Gains

Far Right Sweden Democrats Vow to Exert ‘Real Influence’ after Some Election Gains

Sweden’s far right populist party, the Sweden Democrats, have made election gains, and vowed to begin exerting “real influence” in the country’s politics.

The Sweden Democrats won 17.6% of the votes in Sunday’s general elections, up from 12.9% back in 2014, The Local Sweden and AFP report.

The rise of the Swedish far right is primarily attributed to the massive influx of migrants in recent years, with nearly 400,000 asylum seekers arriving in Sweden since 2012.

This has brought the share of Sweden’s foreign born population to around 18.5%, according to Statistics Sweden.

Frustration over the traditional political parties and economic hardship for some groups of the population.

With roots in the neo-Nazi movement, the Sweden Democrats, declare the large number of asylum-seekers a threat to Swedish culture as well as a burden on Sweden’s welfare state.

“We have strengthened our role as kingmaker…,” Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Åkesson told supporters at an election night party.

“We are going to gain real influence over Swedish politics,” vowed the far right leader whose forecasts of winning some 20 – 30% of the votes failed to materialize.

Nonetheless, Åkesson’s bid for greater influence could potentially turn out to be important as neither of the two main mainstream political blocs have gained enough votes for a majority, and complex Cabinet negotiations are expected to ensue.

With nearly all votes counted, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s Social Democratic Party won 28.4% of the votes in Sunday’s election, or 101 parliamentary seats, out of 175 needed for a majority. Löfven’s coalition bloc, together with the Greens and the Left Party, came to a total of 144 seats, out of 349

The opposition center right Alliance made up of the conservative Moderates, Christian Democrats, Liberals and Center won just one seat fewer, with the highest performing of the four formations, the Moderates, winning 19.8%, or 70 seats.

With their 62 seats, up from 42 won in the previous elections, the Sweden Democrats solidify their position as the third largest formation in Sweden’s Parliament.

To support a Cabinet, far right leader Akesson has said he would demand a curbing of immigration policy, or key positions on parliamentary committees that draft legislation.

“When the same party time and again increases, and the other parties stand still, then you have to listen to that part of the population that is voting for this party. It’s time to take responsibility and talk to the Sweden Democrats,” Sweden Democrats parliamentary group leader Mattias Karlsson told public broadcaster SVT.

The Sweden Democrats first entered the Swedish Parliament back in 2006 with 5.7% of the votes.

The influx of migrants in recent years has seen growing support for far right populists in the EU, with some getting to govern as part of coalitions.

In Italy, a government made up of the leftist populist Five Stars movement and the far right League formed a government earlier this year, while in 2017, the far right Alternative for Germany won 12.6% of votes, and The Danish People’s Party won 21% in 2015.

(Banner image: Jimmie Akesson on Twitter)

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