The thorny question of the place of the far right in the Swedish government

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The thorny question of the place of the extreme right in the Swedish government

A new session was opened on September 27 in the Riksdag, the Swedish parliament.

There is still no new government in Sweden since a right-wing coalition won the general elections on September 11. Discussions continue and the idea that the Democrats of Sweden, the extreme right party member of this coalition, can have ministers is not unanimous.

Anna Lasses does not sulk his pleasure to find himself in Parliament. Freshly elected under the Center Party banner, she gazes in wonder at a magnificent gallery, where deputies and dignitaries chat over a drink and a bite to eat after the official opening of the session.

His gaze darkens when we talk about the ongoing discussions to form the new government. Anna Lasses thinks that preserving the country's tradition of openness will be a challenge if the Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna) win positions in the future cabinet.

Anna Lasses (centre) believes her training will be one of the safeguards of Sweden's liberal values ​​in the face of pressure from the far right.

Opposition to the far-right populist party sitting in government is even within the right-wing coalition. Liberals are particularly against the idea.

In the Swedish population, feelings are divided. In the district of Rosengård, in Malmö (south), we meet Nura who is walking, hijab on her head, with her children. She would like to see Democrats from Sweden in the new government, to see what they are capable of.

The young mother is ready for change in this country where the Social Democrats (left) have dominated the political landscape for decades. Above all, she would like to see what the far right can do to solve security problems.

In Rosengård, apartment buildings stretch as far as the eye can see.

A district with a high proportion of residents of foreign origin , Rosengård has experienced episodes of violence. The brand new deputy for the Democrats of Sweden, in Malmö, sees a clear link with immigration.

Rosengård, September 26, 2022

Nima Gholam Ali Pour is however a native of Iran. He arrived in Sweden as a child with his parents. But for the 40-year-old, the problem for years has been the integration of people who come to Sweden “without adopting its values ​​or learning its language”.

Nima Gholam Ali Pour is an MP for the Sweden Democrats (SD) party. He sees nothing incompatible with being both an immigrant and an activist in this populist party that wants to limit immigration even more. He considers multiculturalism to be a failure, an “illusion” that allows certain groups “to live in their own sphere, without being part of the majority culture”.

The MP takes the classic speech of the Democrats of Sweden and calls for an even stricter limit on immigration in this country which has often taken in the highest number of refugees per inhabitant within the European Union.

Since the September 11 election, there are 73 SD MPs. It is the second largest group in Parliament, behind the Social Democratic Party.

The discourse of the political formation seduces Rolf, a resident of Rosengård. I like their ideas on the big subject yes, immigration, he says with a little laugh, as if he were a little embarrassed to admit it out loud.

Sweden cannot be the conscience of the world, he continues. We cannot accept everyone who needs help. That's not how it works. Limits must be set.

Rolf would like to see the Democrats of Sweden defend their ideas within the new government.

For Sara, crossed a little further , the Democrats of Sweden in the government, it is not. Absolutely not! she says, categorical, before clarifying her thoughts.

It's a racist party. I don't subscribe to their values ​​and that would be bad for the country, for all of us.

She recalls that the Democrats of Sweden come from a neo-Nazi movement. Like many others, she is unfazed by leader Jimmie Åkesson's years-long “de-demonization” campaign and has felt shock at the party's legislative success.

Sara, in the Rosengård district.

The populist far right, however, has managed to chip away at voters on both left and right by campaigning on issues such as inflation and defense of the welfare state.

Many analysts, like Anders Sannerstedt, do not believe Sweden's Democrats will be in government. They believe that the party could then use its full weight in negotiations to get what it wants.

Anders Sannerstedt, associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Lund University (southern Sweden).

Mr. Sannerstedt points out that a similar situation occurred in Denmark, where the People's Party supported several governments without being part of them. It is, however, a real balancing act.

You want to influence politics, have power, but you also want to stay in the position where you can have an opposition role. It's wanting everything at the same time: butter and butter's money, concludes Anders Sannerstedt.

Outgoing Social Democrat Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson (left), who is in charge of day-to-day business pending the next government, believes that it will be completely dependent on the Democrats of Sweden. She predicts that it will be a weak government.

Outgoing Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson (Social Democrat) , asserts that the right-wing formations made a serious error in legitimizing the Democrats of Sweden when they agreed to make a coalition with them.

She intends to carefully monitor all the government's proposals when she leads the opposition, in addition to ensuring that he does not give free rein to hatred.

The leader of left points out that the problems have already begun. We have seen incidents in which Swedes, of different origins, have been approached in the street to be told that they are not welcome here, she laments.

In declaring the opening of Parliament, King Carl Gustaf XVI stressed that Sweden is an open and free country and that this openness also comes with the responsibility to exchange with respect.

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