Swedish Pushback On Refugees Results In Hung Parliament Due To Rise In Anti-Immigrant Party

Hanna Bogorowski | Reporter
  • Sweden held its parliament elections on Sunday, and the results reveal a tough road ahead for the government as no party received a clear majority.
  • The far-right Sweden Democrats party made huge gains, further fracturing the vote and disallowing the two main centrist parties from receiving the majority.
  • The ruling center-left coalition received 40.6 of the vote, the right-leaning Alliance coalition received 40.3 percent and the Sweden Democrats received 17.6 percent of the vote.

Sweden has found its government in a political deadlock after Sunday’s parliament elections where its two main centrist political coalitions failed to win a majority as the nationalist party of the Sweden Democrats made large gains, further fracturing the vote.

After almost all the votes were counted Monday, the ruling center-left coalition of the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left Party racked up 40.6 percent of the vote ahead of the opposing center-right Alliance party’s 40.3 percent.

Of the 349 member parliament, the Riksdag, these votes lead to a one-seat advantage for the center-left party. The anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats added 13 seats, now at 62, to the parliament and gained 17.6 percent of the vote, up from the 12.9 percent it won in 2014, according to a BBC tally.

“Something is going to have to give. The next few weeks will be interesting. It might create new alliances,” Peter Sandberg, managing director of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the U.K., told the Financial Times.

The center-left and center-right blocs will be forced to coordinate to pass legislation and provide some level of give and take inside the government, as Sandberg alluded, especially as both parties have previously said they will not work with the Sweden Democrats, a party reportedly tied with Nazi and white supremacist roots.

The Sweden Democrats leader, Jimmie Akesson, had predicted to win at least 20-30 percent of the vote, and while he didn’t get the results he expected, his party’s gains will at least force some self-reflection on the historically popular parties, especially on the subject of immigration and crime. (RELATED: Integration Of Foreigners In Sweden Has ‘Failed.’ It Could Sway The Country’s Political System)

Jimmie Akesson of the Sweden Democrats speaks at the election party at the Kristallen restaurant in central Stockholm on September 9, 2018. - Sweden's Social Democrats are tipped to be the country's biggest party after Sunday's election on September 9, 2018, with the far-right Sweden Democrats trailing in third place, a TV4 exit poll predicted shortly before polling stations closed. (Photo by Anders WIKLUND / TT News Agency / AFP) / Sweden OUT (Photo credit should read ANDERS WIKLUND/AFP/Getty Images)

Jimmie Akesson of the Sweden Democrats speaks at the election party at the Kristallen restaurant in central Stockholm on Sept. 9, 2018.  Sweden’s Social Democrats are tipped to be the country’s biggest party after Sunday’s election on Sept. 9, 2018, with the far-right Sweden Democrats trailing in third place, a TV4 exit poll predicted shortly before polling stations closed. (Photo: ANDERS WIKLUND/AFP/Getty Images)

“Our questioning of mass migration and how to push back against crime — everybody is talking about that now. That’s of course in our favor,” Akesson said leading up to Sunday’s election.

Police in Sweden reported more than 320 shootings, dozens of bombings and 7,226 rapes in 2017, which is high among Western European countries, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

A report by Swedish public broadcaster SVT revealed in August that 58 percent of all rapes or attempted rapes are from foreigners, a statistic Akesson also contributes to the rise of his party.

A Swedish police inspector, Mats Svensson, also claims that almost all crime suspects as well as crime victims are of foreign origin.

“We can’t go on like this. We need to stop mass immigration and take care of these neighborhoods before racism starts to spread together with crime,” Svensson told the WSJ.

The hardline agenda of the Sweden Democrats (SD) includes freezing all immigration into the country and also wanting to leave the European Union.

The SD party has since disavowed Nazism and fascism, however, in 1996 an SD party member gave a speech to 50 other SD members in a Nazi uniform at a Nazi meeting.

A total of 14 SD politicians have been providing economic support to the Nazi magazine Nationellt Motstånd, four of whom still hold positions in the party, a report in 2017 also revealed.

U.S. President Donald Trump in 2017 criticized the massive number of immigrants Sweden took in from the 2015 refugee crisis, but the election results reveal a significant portion of Swedes are beginning to similarly question Sweden’s immigration policies.

“Sweden has become dangerous since I came here 27 years ago. It will be a disaster if they accept more people from the Middle East like myself,” Gamal El Fahl, an Egyptian refugee, told the WSJ.

If the parliament cannot agree on a new prime minister, after four attempts, a new election will be called.

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