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Swedish opposition leader: ‘Why I’m prepared to work with the Sweden Democrats’

The de facto leader of Sweden's right-wing opposition, who three years ago vowed never to work with the Sweden Democrats, has said the anti-immigration party has become more 'serious' in its politics.

Swedish opposition leader: 'Why I'm prepared to work with the Sweden Democrats'
Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson speaking with the Christian Democrats' Ebba Busch, while the Sweden Democrats' Jimmie Åkesson looks on in the background. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Speaking on public broadcaster SVT's programme 30 minuter, the leader of the conservative Moderates, Ulf Kristersson, said: “I think the Sweden Democrats' rhetoric has changed a lot over recent years. They have branched out politically and take part much more seriously in parliamentary work.”

In particular, he said they had been “constructive” during work on the pandemic, law and order, migration and some aspects of energy politics. 

Kristersson said his party currently has no intention to form a coalition with the Sweden Democrats. But it's the latest step in warming relations towards the far-right party, after the two parties' leaders had their first meeting last year.

It stands in contrast with statements he made previously on the idea of collaboration with the anti-immigration party. As recently as January 2018, Kristersson said: “My values are not the Sweden Democrats'. I will not work together with them, speak with them, govern with them.”

In the 2018 election, neither of the two main blocs (one including the Moderates and three other right-of-centre parties, the other including the governing centre-left coalition) won enough votes to govern alone. In order for either coalition to govern, they needed other parties to either support them in a parliamentary vote or at least offer passive support by abstaining. 

This led to a split in the centre-right coalition, after the Moderates and the Christian Democrats were prepared to accept passive support from the Sweden Democrats. Their two coalition partners, the Centre and Liberal parties were not willing to be part of a government relying on the Sweden Democrats, so instead offered passive support to the centre-left coalition which is now in power.

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2022 SWEDISH ELECTION

Swedish populists call for crime-hit areas to be demolished

The populist Sweden Democrats party has called for the most severely crime-hit areas in Sweden to be demolished, and their populations moved elsewhere in a policy drawn from Denmark's controversial 'ghetto plan'.

Swedish populists call for crime-hit areas to be demolished

The party said it wanted to first use urban planning strategies to “build away” crime-hit areas, but that if that fails, it believed the worst areas should be demolished, as has happened to apartment blocks in cities in Denmark.

“We need to look at demolitions as an alternative,” the party’s leader, Jimmie Åkesson, said at a press conference on Tuesday to launch measures to combat the so-called “parallel society”. 

He said that Sweden was “plagued by escalating serious crime”, and that no other problem faced by society so severely diminished Swedes’ freedom. 

Other measures include bringing in so-called ‘search zones’ in areas badly affected by crime, or “culturally burdened”, another measure taken from Denmark. 

Search zones in Denmark have empowered the police to stop and search people on the street, on their bicycles, or in their cars, without the officer needing to secure a search warrant, or even having reasonable suspicion.

Danish police can then check people’s possessions, search their bags, and even carry out a body search. 

The Sweden Democrats said that police in visitation zones would also be able to raid flats and apartments in certain areas without needing to secure the normal permits. 

Swedish authorities can then mount “dawn raids” on addresses where they have suspicion to believe that more people are living than are registered as doing so. Anyone then found to be living in Sweden without a residency permit would then be immediately deported. 

The party also said that it wanted foreign citizens with “coordination numbers” or samordningsnummer to have biometric data such as their fingerprints and irises collected in the same way as those who receive national identity cards do. 

“This is a question of locking up and in some cases deporting criminals who are a threat to society,” Åkesson said. 

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