The rise of the far right in Sweden and Italy is “in continuity”

The rise of the far right in Sweden and Italy is “in continuity”

The rise of the far right in Sweden and Italy is “in continuity”

Supporters of the Swedish Democrats cheer on the party's election night in Nacka, near Stockholm, on September 11, 2022, after exit polls were published during the general election in Sweden.  (Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP) / ALTERNATIVE COLLECTION
JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AFP Supporters of the Swedish Democrats cheer on the party’s election night in Nacka, near Stockholm, on September 11, 2022, after exit polls were published during the general election in Sweden. (Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP) / ALTERNATIVE COLLECTION

JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AFP

Supporters of the far-right party Democrats of Sweden celebrate their excellent score in the parliamentary elections on September 11, 2022.

POLITICS – ” All over Europe, people aspire to take back their own destiny! ” On Monday, September 12, Marine Le Pen congratulated on Twitter for the historic score obtained by the far-right party Democrats of Sweden. (SD, for Sverigedemokraterna) led by Jimmy Akesson. With over 20% of the vote, it becomes the second largest party in the country ahead of the conservative “Moderates”, whose leader Ulf Kristersson will become Prime Minister on Thursday.

The message of the leader of the National Gathering is not insignificant. It also implicitly refers to the Italian political elections of 25 September for which the post-fascist Fratelli D’Italia party is the favorite. This means that Giorgia Meloni, a former militant of the Mussolini Italian Social Movement, should become the next Prime Minister, ie head of the government.

In recent years, the wind from the far right has been blowing stronger and stronger in Western Europe. Anti-immigration, anti-LGBT, emphasis on security, anti-EU … All parties that claim to belong to this current defend nationalist ideas and brandish the “great substitute” theory as the greatest threat to the peoples. Ideas that are catching on: in France the National Gathering has gone from 8 to 89 deputies in the Assembly after the legislative elections in June.

Neo-Nazi and post-fascist parties

The progress of the Swedish Democrats is also impressive: from 5.7% of the vote in 2010, the neo-Nazi-inspired party won 12.86% of the votes in 2014, 17.5% in 2018 and 20.5% in 2022 dynamic in Italy. From 2% of the votes in 2013, Fratelli d’Italia convinced 4.4% of voters in 2018 and is credited with 25% of the votes in the legislative elections at the end of September.

This rise of the far right, which in fact affects all of Europe, is part of it “in continuity” and it is part “of a European dynamic, even global, which began in the 1980s”, explain to HuffPost Anaïs Voy-Gillis, doctor of geography and specialist in nationalisms in Europe.

List three recent crises that have contributed to this phenomenon: the 2008 economic crisis that “Strengthened anti-European sentiment”the refugee crisis of 2015 “came to materialize the discourse of nationalist identity parties on” migratory invasion “and on the danger of national and European identities”, finally, the crisis of representativeness and the rejection of the elites.

Demonization at the heart of the far-right strategy

Stéphane François, professor of political science at the University of Mons HuffPostshares this analysis. “We can date the turning point to the crisis of the 1980s that resulted from the 1973 oil crisis. It was the turning point of rigor [décidé en 1983 par François Mitterrand, NDLR] “, specifies the radical rights specialist.

At the same time, the far right has also begun its “demonization” to gain respectability, and the opposing sides have progressively put an end to the “sanitary cordon” of removing them from power. In Italy the sanitary cordon disappeared in the 90s with Silvio Berlusconi, who brought in his government several exponents of the MSI, the founder fascist party of the Brothers of Italy. It was in this party that Giorgia Meloni began her political commitment.

In Sweden, Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson sought SD support after its failure in the 2018 legislative elections. An unprecedented, contested, but effective rapprochement: together, the right-wing coalition with the SD would control 176 seats in Parliament (including 73 for the far right), an absolute majority or a marginal seat.

This is also the case in France, says Stéphane François. “What we observe in our country was largely triggered by the debate on the national identity of Nicolas Sarkozy, who wanted to capture the ideas of the far right. Today we are paying for the demagogy of some political figures “snaps.

“A calendar accident”

2022 is therefore in no way a surprise for him, but a simple one “Consequence of what has been developing for years”. The electoral results favorable to the far right in Sweden, France and Italy are “A calendar crash. The ideas have had time to instill the population and now there are elections with the results we know “.

And that’s not all, because “The far right still has room for improvementjudge. Furthermore, the ideas of the far right are taken up by many right-wing personalities. You just have to see Eric Ciotti in France, it’s scary. “ This is also the case in Sweden, where Ulf Kristersson led a tough campaign focusing specifically on crime in the country, a favorite theme of the Swedish Democrats. “Kristersson could only go down in history as the SD blacksmith”thus faced the everyday Dagens Nyheter.

For this Anaïs Voy-Gillis, author of The European Union has tested nationalisms, think it“there will be a re-composition of the political spectrum to the right at the national and European level, with a strengthening of the far right in the European Parliament” for the 2024 elections.

“We will also have to see, in the event of a rise to power, whether experience strengthens them or weakens them. However, it would seem that the exercise of power is not a brake on the progress of these parties., adds Anaïs Voy-Gillis. Stéphane François is even more worried: “The risk if far-right parties play the electoral game is that activists become even more radical and turn to terrorism because they find the parties too moderate. Unfortunately, the current situation could get worse. “

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