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Short guide on tomorrow’s elections in Sweden

In these elections there is intrigue and uncertainty.

Leader of the Swedish Democrats
Key Figures
  • The Social Democrats : the party of Prime Minister Stefan Leuven and the main player of the left-of-center coalition of Sweden. For a hundred years the Social Democrats have been the largest party in the country. To these elections, they were attacked both on the right – for the policy of open borders, and on the left – for having toughened the rules of entry and put temporary control points.
  • Moderate coalition party : the center-right movement, advocating the creation of new jobs and lower taxes. In 2006, they managed to push the Social Democrats away from power for eight years. In these elections, most likely they will be moved to the third place. The attitude of Christerson, the leader of the party, to the ultra-right is mixed: although while he refuses to cooperate with them, he stopped calling them racists.
  • The Swedish Democrats : a populist party lobbying anti-immigration policies and holding a referendum for secession from the European Union. At the head of the party is Yiddi Okesson, who is dressed with a needle, who shows very good results in this election. In 2014, they took 13% in the elections. They are popular because of anti-immigrant positions and Okessa’s efforts to purge the party of neo-Nazi roots.
  • The Green Party : For the first time environmentalists came to power when they managed to reach an agreement with the Social Democrats four years ago and create a small coalition within the government. Recent forest fires in Sweden have prompted politicians to actively deal with environmental issues, perhaps the influence of green will grow
  • Other parties: in the country there is a liberal and agrarian Party Center , advocating for secession from the former communist Left Party . And also: the Christian Democrats , the Feminist Initiative and the neo-Nazi Northern Resistance Movement .

What the polls predict

Polls conducted this summer show that the ruling Social Democratic Party is gaining 21% of the vote, which is 10% less than in the previous elections in 2014. It is also the worst result of the game for more than a hundred years. The ultra-right Swedish democrats can score up to 28.5% of the vote, which can change relations with Brussels and weaken the European Union. The latest polls show that the ruling party of the Social Democrats will win, although we should not forget that during interviews people can be insincere and vote differently (you can remember the same Trump victory).

F All polls conducted in Sweden. S – Social Democrats, M – moderate party, SD – Swedish democrats.

Why is the ultra-right so popular?

If the center-leftists really lose their positions, the ultra-right Swedish Democrats, who have more than doubled their popularity since the beginning of the migration crisis in Europe, will most likely win.

Sweden – a country with a population of 10 million people was a bulwark of European liberalism, as the most open for refugees.

But in 2015, during the migration crisis in Europe, Sweden took a record 163 thousand applications for asylum and everything changed. At the border, temporary checkpoints were put in place and the rules for entry into the country were toughened.

Sweden and other Scandinavian countries are associated with social democracy. But it seems that this period is coming to an end. We become a country like any other. Perhaps now the bastion of social democracy is collapsing.

People vote for the Swedish Democrats for only one reason – immigration. In the society there is growing dissatisfaction with the fact that politicians do not meet the high expectations that are imposed on them. For a very long time, they said that immigration is not a problem, you are racist. You do not need to talk about this. Now suddenly they say that they were wrong.

It is very important that people do not feel that they are in their own cultural environment and doubt that the country is on the right track. This is the same mood as in the cases of British “breksitom” or the election of Trump in the United States.

So far polls show that society is leaning more towards staying in the EU. But some time ago I could not even imagine that Trump would win the US election, and I did not expect that the Swedish Democrats would gain such popularity.

Patrick Oberg
Swedish political scientist, professor at the University of Gothenburg
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