Jimmie Akesson, 31, the leader of the Sweden Democrats, does not believe in a soft sell: He wants to cut immigration by 90 percent, and he thinks that the growth of Sweden’s Muslim population is the country’s biggest foreign threat since World War II.
NY TIMES Malmo, Sweden, which is seen by many people as a guardian of liberalism and tolerance, has never elected to Parliament a member of any party who campaigned openly against immigration. That could change in elections on Sunday.
Opinion polls suggest that the Sweden Democrats will exceed the 4 percent threshold needed to reach Parliament. An alliance of center-right parties appears to have a narrow overall lead, according to the surveys, but the Sweden Democrats could hold the balance of power, something that could create a political crisis.
That prospect has jolted a nation in which even some of Mr. Akesson’s fiercest critics now acknowledge that too little has been done to integrate immigrants. (Muslims don’t want to integrate) Political analysts also say that the rise of the populist right shows that Sweden is being buffeted by broad political currents familiar in other European countries.
For most of the last century, Social Democrats dominated politics here, but in 2006 the center-right Moderates came to power under Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. This time, the parties are standing as competing blocs: one from the center-right, led by the Moderates, and one from the center-left, led by the Social Democratic leader Mona Sahlin, who in running for prime minister could become the first woman to hold that job in Sweden if she is elected.
Though sidelined from much of the official campaign, the Sweden Democrats have nonetheless attracted attention. Their biggest coup involved a blunt 30-second advertisement that showed a white pensioner being overtaken by a group of Muslim women in burqas as they rushed toward a line for welfare payments.
One station refused at first to broadcast the ad, before agreeing to do so with parts obscured. The ad generated enormous publicity and made the Sweden Democrats appear to be victims of censorship.
In a televised debate on Sunday, Mr. Reinfeldt and Ms. Sahlin ruled out working with the Sweden Democrats if their coalitions did not win an absolute majority.
But Mr. Akesson, speaking before the debate, said he thought the Moderates could find themselves in need of his party to form a governing majority. “I think now, if you look at the polls, it is not impossible for the right alliance to get a full majority,” he said. “But if they don’t, they need us to stay in government.”
Mr. Akesson contended that his party could win as much as 8 percent of the vote. “We are quite confident,” he said. “We are underestimated in those polls. We have grown a lot since the last elections.”
The populist right has been helped by structural changes in politics, analysts say. The collectivist, egalitarian ideas that have been associated with Sweden for decades are fading. The debate over immigration in Sweden mirrors the debate elsewhere in Europe, where economic pressures have exacerbated tensions over the role of Islam on the continent.
“There is a general change in Swedish society,” Ms. Madestam said. “Social democratic ideas are losing their grip on Sweden, and we are getting more and more individualistic. These collectivist ideas are not so strong.”
Ibrahim Baylan, the national secretary of the opposition Social Democrats, who came to Sweden from Turkey when he was 10, said the recession and unemployment were largely responsible for the rise of the populist right. (No, the Muslim problem is the reason)
At the main mosque and Islamic center in Malmo, Beyzat Becirov, who came to Sweden from Yugoslavia more than 40 years ago, said there had been dozens of attacks on the mosque, including a serious fire in 2003. In one office, he pointed to a window with a bullet hole. As for Mr. Akesson’s Sweden Democrats, he said that their support was not substantial, before adding, “But Hitler’s support started small.” (How pathetic, Muslims trying align themselves with the Holocaust) H/T Susan K
IslamoFascist sympathizing Left Wing thugs carve a swastika onto Right Wing politician’s forehead.
A Swedish far-right politician is recovering from a shocking hate crime attack from Leftists, who viciously carved a swastika into his forehead.
One of the masked men held Antoni down while the other used a knife to carve a swastika into the 24-year-old politician’s forehead, the paper reports. Anti-racist and left-wing extremist political graffiti was spray painted on Antoni’s home earlier that day, reports Stockholm News.
No suspects have been arrested on the attack on Antoni, who is active the the Swedish Democrats youth group SDU and is running on the party line for the Malmo City Council and the region. Police are looking for clues in a counter-demonstration held by 500 anti-racists the day before that disrupted a meeting of the far-right group.LINK H/T American Me