The far-right anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats party said Sunday that it wants to spend 25 billion Swedish kronor ($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 Åkesson, called it “a classic assimilation policy” and said he envisions the construction of special “Sweden centers” in marginalized 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.
Åkesson was speaking to the media while visiting the party’s stronghold of Ånge municipality.
The Sweden Democrats, once barred from politics due to their neo-Nazi ties, are currently Sweden’s third-largest party.
They have surged in opinion polls ahead of elections due next month and are now on the way to becoming the country’s second largest party.
According to recent polls, they took over second place from the country’s traditional right-wing Moderate Party and are now the main competitors to the ruling Social Democrats and Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, who is currently leading a minority government.
In an interview with Swedish Radio, Åkesson 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.
Sweden will hold legislative elections on Sept. 11.
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