Sweden Democrats could enter parliament: poll

A small but significant surge in support for the nationalist political party Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna, SD) means they could enter parliament after general elections later this year, if current trends continue.

The latest Skop poll published in Swedish media at the weekend shows that 4.4 percent of the electorate favours the Sweden Democrats, up 1.2 percentage points on December results. The party has thus moved beyond the legal threshold of 4 percent for entering parliament, following a trend previously recorded by several polling agencies. National elections are in September.

According to the party platform, it believes in restrictive immigration. Only those with paid jobs should be permitted to remain in Sweden. In addition, refugees should be returned to their home countries when safe to do so.

“The mass immigration of the past decades has come to pose a serious threat to our national identity by creating huge areas populated by people who will never see themselves as Swedish or as part of our culture or our history,” the official Sweden Democrat platform says.

Should the party enter parliament in September, it could conceivably play an important swing role in determining the next government. Polls have recently showed that the two main political blocs, the Red-Green centre-left coalition, and the ruling center-right Alliance, are neck and neck. The Red-Greens have consistently shown a polling majority, but the Skop poll says there is now only a 1.4 point difference favouring the Red-Greens, consisting of the Social Democrat, Green, and Left parties.

Founded in 1988, the Sweden Democrats have 286 local seats in 145 Swedish municipalities. In the city of Landskrona in southern Sweden the party received 22.3 percent of electoral votes in general elections in 2006, making it the third largest party on the city council. It garnered 2.9 percent of national votes, not sufficient for entering parliament, but enough to be entitled to automatic financial support from the state as a qualified political party under Swedish law.

The party, led by Jimmie Åkesson has its origins in an earlier political movement called Keep Sweden Swedish (Bevara Sverige Svenskt).

The Skop poll provided unwelcome news for Jan Björklund’s Liberal Party, which dropped 2.4 points to 6.9 percent, the only statistically significant result result in the poll of 1,000 voters.

Respondents were asked to express a preference when asked which party they would vote for if an election were held today. The poll was carried out in the period from January 24th to February 4th.

Skop poll results, percent (change from December in parentheses)

Moderate Party, 28.8 (-0.1)

Liberal Party, 6.9 (-2.4)

Centre Party, 5.9 (+1.2)

Christian Democrats, 5.0 (+1.6)

Total: 46.6

Social Democrats, 32.1 (+1.0)

Green Party, 10.5 (-0.4)

Left Party, 5.4 (-1.0)

Total: 48.0

Sweden Democrats 4.4 (+1.2)