Sweden Democrats party have surged in opinion polls ahead of elections due next month.
Anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats party has said it wants to spend $2.3 billion on strengthening the justice system and withdraw grants for immigrants who do not adopt the country’s culture.
The party’s leader, Jimmie Akesson, called it “a classic assimilation policy” and said he envisions the construction of special “Sweden centres” in marginalised areas.
“There you can let the Swedish way of being and Swedish heritage become very accessible in a part of the country where it is currently very inaccessible,” he said.
Akesson was speaking to the media while visiting the party’s stronghold of Ange municipality.
Once barred from politics due to their neo-Nazi ties, the Sweden Democrats are currently Sweden’s third-largest party.
They have surged in opinion polls ahead of elections due next month.
Far-Right, Anti-Immigrant SD is now the second-largest
party in Sweden. The election is only 19 days away. pic.twitter.com/ntkyXP6Nqd
— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) August 23, 2022
Growing support for anti-immigration policies
The party has the second-largest share of voter support ahead of the September 11 vote, trailing the ruling Social Democrats, which have dominated Swedish post-war politics.
The Sweden Democrats polled between 20 and 23 percent in three different surveys published this week, overtaking the conservative Moderate party in the close race.
Candidates have been vying for support among voters who say that crime is a top concern, followed by immigration and segregation issues.
Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson’s Social Democrats enjoyed a lead with around 30 percent of voter support, according to the polls.
Her party, long defenders of the country’s cherished welfare state, has in recent years curbed immigration and campaigned on tackling gang-related crime.
The conservative Moderate party, traditionally the second most popular party, came in third with between 16 and 18 percent of voter support.
Moderates leader Ulf Kristersson is challenging Andersson for the post of prime minister.
Sweden has struggled to contain deadly shootings and bombings that have soared in recent years, many linked to gang rivalries or organised criminals battling over the drug market.
The far-right Sweden Democrats have been shunned since entering parliament in 2010 but with violence and crime dominating voters’ concerns, the right-wing bloc, made up of the Moderates, Christian Democrats and Liberals, is now ready to cooperate with the Sweden Democrats to wrest power from the Social Democrats.
The Social Democrats are meanwhile relying on support from the Left, Centre and Green parties, with the two blocs neck-and-neck in the polls.
Far-right, anti-immigration Sweden Democrats in Sundbyberg district of Stockholm running ad demanding bridge connecting their district to Rinkeby be demolished. Why? Rinkeby is a poorer district w/large immigrant community. Hard to imagine more open example of forced segregation. pic.twitter.com/q52Xbf6G8C
— Christian Christensen (@ChrChristensen) August 23, 2022
Akesson for PM?
In an interview with Swedish Radio, Akesson refused to say whether he would request to be prime minister if his party ends up at the top of the polls.
“I don’t think I should have to sit and draw any red lines about what the government should look like at the moment. We’ll have to decide that after the elections. If I had my way, I’d be in a majority government, but I don’t get to do that on my own,” he said.
In this year’s election campaigning, all Swedish political parties pledged tougher stances on immigration, crime and integration, which are the core issues for the Sweden Democrats.
Something that’s not talked about much is that young men in Sweden are OVERWHELMINGLY right-wing. About 60% would vote for the conservative and nationalist parties.
It only drops to 52% in the next age category. https://t.co/PQJ4Iqph0l
— Loukas Christodoulou (@Loukas_doula) August 20, 2022