Sweden Democrats

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The Sweden Democrats (Swedish: Sverigedemokraterna) are a Swedish nationalist, anti-immigration party. In 2010, the party won 20 seats in the Swedish Parliament. In 2014, this increased to 49 seats. In 2018, this increased again to 63 seats, and the party became the third largest. In 2022 it became the second-largest party in Parliament, with 73 seats from a 20.6% vote share.[1]

The party was founded in 1988 by Gustaf Ekström (1907–1995) a Swedish SS volunteer in World War II.[2] In contrast to many other western European similar anti-immigration parties, such as the Swedish forerunner Ny Demokrati, the Danish People's Party, the Norwegian Fremskrittspartiet and the Dutch Freedom Party, which tend to have libertarian or conservative roots, the Sweden Democrats have historical links to the Swedish Neo-Nazi movement. Though the party officially denounces racism, they are often accused of racism and Islamophobia, and there have been a number of incidents where municipal SD politicians have had to resign following racist statements or other unacceptable actions.[3] In 2015 the party disbanded the youth wing it then had, viewed as too toxic and extremist, former members of which then went on to form the fringe far-right party Alternative for Sweden in 2018.

Until 2019, the other seven parties in the Swedish Parliament (Riksdag) refused to cooperate or engage with the Sweden Democrats, despite SD growing to become the third largest party.[4][5][6] The ModeratesWikipedia and Christian DemocratsWikipedia opened up to cooperation first,[7][8][9] joined by the centre-right LiberalsWikipedia in 2021.[10] Party leader Jimmie Åkesson hoped for his party to become part of a greater right-wing bloc in the Swedish Riksdag,[11] and this happened and such a bloc narrowly won in the 2022 election.[1] The question of whether or not to cooperate with the SD party as a means to greater influence or even forming a government has been a divisive question, and in part continues to be for centrist parties in particular.

Ideology[edit]

As a Sweden Democrat I see this [Islam and Muslims in Sweden] as our biggest foreign threat since World War II.
—Party leader Jimmie Åkesson, debating in 2009[12]

The party describes itself as nationalist, and, since 2011, socially conservative. Several opponents brand the party as racist, Islamophobic, far right and populist. The party also praises the social democratic welfare state (which is old enough to be part of the general modern image of Sweden and "Swedishness").

The Sweden Democrats (SD) are to a large extent "cultural Christians", but a moderate portion of their voters have been won over from the Christian democratic party (KristdemokraternaWikipedia, KD), a conservative party more strongly associated with genuinely religious Christian voters.[note 1] The party[12] and its voters are known in part for their anti-Islam sentiments.[13] The Sweden Democrats are more popular with men than with women, while it's the other way around for the Social Democrats.Wikipedia[14][15]

The Sweden Democrats previously wanted to restrict the rights to abortion, an unusual position in Swedish politics, but changed their views in 2019.[16][17] They also brand themselves as tough on crime, desiring to promote entrapment, to withdraw executive pardoning, and other controversial enforcement techniques.

Incidents[edit]

Since its foundation in 1988, there have been several incidents involving high-ranked Sweden Democrats. Many of them have been brought to public attention since the party entered Parliament in autumn 2010.

One of the most infamous is the iron pipe scandal, which happened in June 2010, surfacing in November 2012, where three top-level Sweden Democrats (two of them MP's when the scandal erupted) recorded themselves on video, brawling at McDonald's in central Stockholm using racist and sexist slurs against bystanders, later picking up iron aluminium pipes from a nearby scaffold.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. The Christian Democrats went through a time of shrinking support around the time that the Sweden Democrats had its great growth spurt. Disgruntled elderly Christian voters who jumped ship from the Christian Democrats due to them not being sufficiently anti-immigration and anti-feminist found a new rallying cry with the emergence of the Sweden Democrats.

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Sweden election: How an ex neo-Nazi movement became kingmakers, BBC News, 15 September 2022
  2. See the Wikipedia article on Gustaf Ekström.
  3. "Hot tömmer SD-stolar i kommunerna - DN.SE", DN.SE, 2011-11-09 (in Swedish)
  4. "Ideologiska skillnader stoppar SD-samarbete", svt.se, Örjan Magnusson, 2014-09-15 (in Swedish)
  5. "Will the Sweden Democrats stay isolated?", sverigesradio.se, 2014-09-15
  6. Support for Sweden Dems slips ahead of Sept 9 election: poll, Reuters, 2018-08-22
  7. "Moderaterna vill samarbeta med Sverigedemokraterna om politik", sverigesradio.se, 2019-12-05 (in Swedish)
  8. "Ebba Busch Thor (KD): ”Beredda att förhandla med SD i alla frågor”", svt.se, Amanda Skagerström Lindau, 2019-12-09 (in Swedish)
  9. "Starkare samarbete mellan SD, KD och M", expressen.se, Max Sohl Stjernberg, 2020-12-28 (in Swedish)
  10. "Sabunis linje vinner – L öppnar för samarbete med SD", aftonbladet.se, Olof Svensson, 2021-03-28 (in Swedish)
  11. "Jimmie Åkesson drömmer om ”det konservativa blocket”", svt.se, 2019-03-07 (in Swedish)
  12. 12.0 12.1 “Muslimerna är vårt största utländska hot”, Aftonbladet, Jimmy Åkesson, October 19, 2009 (in Swedish)
  13. "The Rise of Sweden Democrats: Islam, Populism and the End of Swedish Exceptionalism", Brookings Institute, Danielle Lee Tomson, March 25, 2020
  14. "Skillnader i partisympati beroende på kön och ålder", Novus.se (in Swedish)
  15. "Ökande gap mellan kvinnors och mäns partisympatier", SCB 2021 (in Swedish)
  16. https://sd.se/our-politics/abort/
  17. https://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/samhalle/a/OpXnaV/akessons-drag--sa-ska-han-hindra-s-attackerna