how the far right moved closer to power after a historic turn at the polls

how the far right moved closer to power after a historic turn at the polls

how the far right moved closer to power after a historic turn at the polls

This is a turning point for Sweden. The right-wing bloc narrowly won the legislative elections on Sunday 11 September, according to partial results (in Swedish) covering almost 95% of the polling stations. With 49.7% of the vote, the right won 175 seats, one more than the left bloc, backing outgoing Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson. If these results are confirmed after Wednesday’s full ballot count, Ulf Kristersson, the leader of the Moderate Rally Party, is in a good position to form the country’s next government. A big change after eight years of Social Democratic rule.

Sweden elects its deputies proportionally, so a coalition will be needed to govern. On the right, it is certain that it cannot be formed without the support of the far-right party, the Democrats of Sweden, which came in second with 20.6% of the votes, behind the Social Democrats (30.5%). This party, founded in the late 1980s by neo-Nazi groups, has never achieved such a high score in legislative elections. Result: it is impossible for the Swedish right to govern without this anti-immigration movement. And if a collaboration with the Democrats of Sweden had so far been rejected, the option is now under consideration by more parties. Explanations.

A campaign focused on precariousness and immigration

The second place of the Swedish Democrats owes nothing to chance. The campaign, dominated by discussions on insecurity, immigration and energy prices, was particularly favorable to the far-right party, which has been advocating these issues for years. “The significant increase in violence in Sweden is not to be taken lightly, particularly due to shootings and unfinished business between rival gangs.”emphasizes Nicholas Aylott, a political scientist at the University of Södertörn (Stockholm county). “Unsurprisingly, there is a political reaction to this.”

By imposing its issues on the debate, the far-right party has managed to become essential in the eyes of the voters. “The Swedes trust the far right more to handle these problems, according to several opinion polls”, confirmed Zet isakssonsociologist of the University of Stockholm. “Far-right movements are strong when people feel their country is going in the wrong direction, and that’s what happens, especially in places with high crime rates.”

“This result is also the sign of the end of the Swedish exception at certain levels, in particular on the country’s openness to immigration, which is now being questioned”.

Nicholas Aylott, political scientist

to franceinfo

This historic score for the far right is also an expression of deep resentment within an increasingly polarized Swedish society, such as the election results, analyzes Zeth Isaksson: “As long as there are places, like in the countryside, where people think they don’t matter, the far right will be at the top.” Swedish Democrats now top 40% in some municipalities, particularly in the south of the country.

A “normalization” strategy.

The good results of the Democrats of Sweden are not only due to the news. They are also the result of a “normalization” strategy started several years ago by Jimmie HASkessonthe party leader. The 43-year-old politician, who has led his team since 2005, has taken care to distance himself from the troubled past of the Democrats of Sweden, notes the Guardian (in English)and to moderate some of his positions. “The party in particular has abandoned its opposition to NATO membership and Sweden’s participation in the EU.observes Nicola Aylott. It was a way to allow collaboration with other right-wing parties, which are pro-Europeans.

A winning strategy for a party that went from 5.7% of votes in 2010 to 12.9% in 2014, then to 17.5% in 2018. “It says a lot about how far we have come, about the little party that everyone laughed about. (…) Today we are the second biggest party in Sweden”Jimmie Akesson jubilee on Sunday, in front of his supporters.

Born into a middle-class family in the small town of Sölvesborg (south of the country), the very divisive far-right leader “is a true political professional”appreciated Zet isakssonwho notices that, “for 80% of the voters, his personality is an important reason for their vote [selon un sondage réalisé à la sortie des urnes].

The end of the “sanitary cordon” on the right

The Moderate party, the main conservative movement that hardened its rhetoric during the election campaign, does not rule out collaborating with the Democrats of Sweden. A turning point in the country’s political life, when a “sanitary cordon”according to Nicola Aylott, had been implemented by the rest of the political class around the far right. Also for this reason, the formation of a right-wing government in 2018 failed.

This time, the first negotiations have begun hasHe also boasts the final results since Jimmie Akesson was received by the Moderates in Stockholm on Monday. After his visit, he said he was ready, on Twitter, “participate constructively in a change of power”.

But faced with the reluctance of the liberals, a center-right party, the far right could be forced to settle for a supporting role on the part of Parliament, without accessing important ministerial posts. If the Democrats of Sweden do not join a future coalition, the right will leave the field open to the Social Democrats, leading a minority government before the elections.

“We can expect the future government to take strong decisions against crime, especially in the area of ​​justice, and limit the conditions for immigration.”

Nicholas Aylott, political scientist

to franceinfo

The Democrats of Sweden will have a great influence on the future policy of the government if led by it Ulf Kristersson, candidate for the post of prime minister of the right-wing bloc. But disagreements could still quickly emerge, particularly in terms of economic policy. “Liberals and moderates are in favor of lower taxes and a smaller state. Swedish Democrats are not at all.”emphasizes Nicholas Aylott.

The possible participation of the far-right party in a future government further damages the image of a country known for its moderation and openness to the world. However, the Swedish Democrats are in danger of colliding with reality power and eventually lose part of their electorate. “By taking power, it becomes difficult to have an anti-elite discourseto analyze Zet isaksson. The rise to power of this type of party is rarely good, because it is easier to criticize than to act. “

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.