Sweden: Neo-Nazis double their gains compared to last election
Parliamentary elections were held in Sweden recently and their outcome is evidently the end to the eight-year-long government by the center-right coalition led by Prime Mnister Fredrik Reinfeldt. Almost one-third of the votes were won by the opposition Swedish Social Democratic Party.
Local media have reported the main surprise as being the significant strengthening of the ultra-right base of Swedish neo-Nazis. Compared to previous elections, ultra-right candidates more than doubled their gains.
Neo-Nazis in isolation
Even prior to the elections, the strengthening of the populist, radical, strongly anti-immigrant Swedish Democrats, a party whose roots are in the neo-Nazi movement, was the most discussed outcome (and not only in Sweden), The party won 12.9 % of the vote, becoming the third-strongest group in parliament; it has been doing its best recently to distance itself from its extremist past, but one of its female candidates in a local race was captured in recently published photographs wearing a swastika on her clothing.
While in the elections four years ago the party won 5.7 % of the vote, it has now won 12.9 % and 49 seats. The Financial Times has reported that the party does not have much of a chance politically, because (as in most of Europe) none of the main political parties are willing to collaborate with the ultra-right.
The left is leading
Swedish PM Reinfeldt was primarily criticized by the left for his policy of lowering taxes, privatizing state-owned companies, and reducing welfare benefits, all deviations from Sweden's idea of a welfare state. Critics say the moves led, among other things, to a significant enlargement of the gulf between the poor and the rich and to deteriorating the quality of educational facilities, health care, and senior citizens' homes.
Feminist Initiative didn't change its chances
The Feminist Initiative in Sweden has also been drawing attention after it became the first-ever feminist party to sit in the European Parliament this May and sparked hope that it would exceed the 4 % threshold for entry into the Swedish legislature. Ultimately, however, the party did not get in.
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