The right-wing populist Sweden Democrats are on the verge of becoming Sweden’s second-biggest party following the country’s general election on Sunday (11 September).
With 95 per cent of votes counted at the time of writing, the Sweden Democrats look set to secure 20.6 per cent, ahead of the centre-right Moderates (19.1 per cent) but behind the current governing party, the Social Democrats (30.5 per cent).
The Sweden Democrats first entered parliament in 2010 with 5.7 per cent of the vote. In 2014 the party secured 12.9 per cent of votes, rising to 17.5 per cent in 2018. The Sweden Democrats have successively increased their vote share at each general election in which they have stood since their founding in 1988.
The party, which has roots in neo-Nazism, was initially treated as a pariah by other parties. But three years ago the Moderates adopted a strategy of cooperation with the far right. As part of their programme, the Sweden Democrats have proposed the toughest immigration laws in the EU. Their proposed measures include cutting economic benefits for migrants and making it possible to deny asylum claims made on the grounds of religious or anti-LGBT persecution.
The right-wing bloc of parties, of which the Sweden Democrats are a member, currently has a majority of one seat over its left-wing counterpart.
[See also: Sweden’s tight election could result in a far right-backed government]