Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Sweden faces hung parliament as far-right makes gains

William Hahne vice chairman of the far-right Sweden goes to the polls with far-right group with neo-Nazi roots tipped to become largest party
Gerardo Duncan | 11 September, 2018, 07:41

Unless parties on the centre-left and centre-right break ranks with their blocs, it is likely to be impossible to form a stable government without some kind of support from the Sweden Democrats, who want the country to leave the European Union and freeze immigration.

As expected, neither the center-left nor the center-right bloc obtained a majority, and the far-right Sweden Democrats solidified their position as the country's third-biggest party, albeit with a lower score than they had expected.

The result was a mark of the success Akesson has had in gentrifying his party, which traded in its black boots and swastikas for suits and has sought to portray itself as a defender of ordinary working Swedes.

Still, the Swedish election underscored a broader shift to the right in one of Europe's most socially progressive nations. Emilia Orpana said she and another party supporter were threatened by two young men who called them 'damned racists'.

The trouble is, the two centre-most parties of the centre-right bloc (the Centre and Liberal party) have said that they will not under any circumstances consider that. Consequently, forming a majority government will be hard without the help of the Sweden Democrats which both blocs have shunned so far. And this is, in part, dueto the advancement of the far right party The Sweden Democrats (SD).

"It's pretty much inconceivable that the left bloc would be prepared to accept that (Sweden Democrat) support or govern with that support".

In a previous EUROPP article, Anders Hellström has assessed the importance of the Sweden Democrats for the 2018 election, and how their policies on immigration and crime have influenced the other major Swedish parties. "But the expected. bang did not happen", the liberal Expressen daily said in an op-ed piece.

"So that puts those two parties on the horns of a really, really acute dilemma".

With most ballots from Sunday's election counted, the ruling Social Democrats led by Prime Minister Stefan Lofven had 28.1% of the vote - their worst showing in decades.

"I will not exclude any alternative to the (present) government".

Polling institutes have suggested support for the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats (SD) could tick in anywhere between 16 and 25 percent, giving it significant influence and making it impossible to predict the make-up of the next government.

"This is where it gets very interesting".

The Sweden Democrats have promised to sink any government that refuses to give them a say in policy, particularly on immigration.

The result is however so tight, with just some 30,000 votes separating the two blocs, that it may take until Wednesday (12 September) when the last votes cast by Swedes overseas have been counted and the result finally checked before a final result is known.

A far-right party which campaigned with an anti-migrant message is thought to have taken around one in five votes in Sweden's elections.

The Sweden Democrats, which have origins in the neo-Nazi movement, have spent years telling Swedes that their country is in crisis.

"That frankly, is an extremely implausible scenario - why would the left bloc consent to an Alliance government when the left bloc is actually a touch bigger than the alliance?"

The Social Democrats and Greens could retain power in the unlikely event that Prime Minister Lofven survives a mandatory vote on whether to replace him.

That is if other parties let them - as things stand now, the Sweden Democrats won't have any actual power. In many ways, though, they still came out as the vote's biggest winners. "That's what you basically had in Sweden", said Sheri Berman, a professor of politics at Barnard College.

"Sweden, the homeland of multiculturalism and the model of the left, has finally made a decision to change after years of rampant immigration", he boasted. For me, when he is saying that immigrants are not welcome to Sweden ... he is trying to spread hate between the people.

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