January 28, 2023

Raven Tribune

Complete News World

Right-wing populists achieve record results – social democrats remain strong force

In the parliamentary elections in Sweden, the Social Democratic Party led by Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson emerged as a strong force. The Social Democrats see a 30.1 percent projection as of 9:33 p.m. Sweden’s right-wing populist party, the Sweden Democrats, won a record 21.0 percent of the vote. This was reported by SVT radio station after counting more than 1,000 out of approximately 6,500 blocks.

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Ulf Kristersson’s moderates are the third strongest with 17.3 percent of the vote. It would be their worst finish since 2002. Meanwhile, Sweden’s Greens came in at 5.4 percent and the Left Party at 8.0 percent. The Center Party got 6.9 percent and the country’s Christian Democrats 5.3 percent. The Liberal Party got only 4.2 percent of the vote.

However, after Sunday evening’s parliamentary elections, it was initially unclear which political camp would be able to rely on a majority in the Reichstag in Stockholm in the future. The centre-left coalition led by Prime Minister Andersen is leading by only a handful of seats in the first poll. About 40,000 votes separate the two government constituencies, TV station SVT reported at 9:30 p.m. Tobias Baudin, from the Social Democrats, said after the first forecast for broadcaster SVT: “People are still queuing, nothing has been decided.”

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The partial results that the Election Commission wanted to release gradually on the eve of the election would provide more clarity. Regardless of the outcome of the referendum, the Scandinavian EU country is likely to face a lengthy government formation after the 2018 elections, as the parties in the blocs also disagree on many issues.

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The Swedish Parliament in Stockholm has 349 seats. So 175 mandates are required for majority. So far, Anderson and his purely social-democratic minority government have had to rely on the support of the Liberal Center Party, the Left Party and the Greens. A conservative-right coalition led by moderate leader Christensen has so far won the remaining 174 seats.

A right-wing populist party is on the rise

Opinion polls had already indicated that there would be a tough contest between the two parties. Before the election, it was questionable whether the Social Democrats would win enough votes for a government majority with the center-left Bloc parties. On the right, it was clear that the populist Sweden Democrats would become a strong party in the middle-class crowd. The Sweden Democratic Party, once founded by right-wing extremists, has long been unpopular with many voters and has been cut off by other parties. Still, they’ve won every election since 2010 — 5.7 percent in 2010, 12.9 percent in 2014, 17.5 percent in 2018 — and have been busily working to project a new image. You’ve made a name for yourself through criticism of immigration policies and crime.

The fact that rising gang crime in the country was one of the most hotly debated topics during the election campaign and the sharp rise in energy prices plays into the right’s hands. The two leading candidates debated back and forth. No other country in Europe has developed as much gang crime as Sweden, Kristerson said, while Andersen spoke of a “Swedish epidemic.”

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Andersson, 55, became Sweden’s first female prime minister last year and is highly regarded. Sociologist Zeth Isaksson attributed this to Andersen’s negotiations on Sweden’s NATO accession and his long experience as finance minister. However, many voters blame them for high taxes and point out that the Social Democrats have been in power for eight years.

Before the election, Andersen told reporters on Sunday that he was ready to work with all parties except the Sweden Democrats. According to Swedish Radio, he was very disappointed that the other parties decided differently on the matter. Andersson’s conservative challenger, Ulf Kristerson, has long been willing to work with right-wing populists, given a tough majority in parliament.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg also warned against populist tones. He criticized over the weekend that a young activist was publicly mocked by a moderate politician during a televised debate between Anderson and Christerson. “A society where political parties blatantly mock and simply point to research that hates children is a sick society,” Thunberg wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “Anti-democratic and populist winds are blowing strongly. It should be supported,” she said.