The leader of the populist Sweden Democrats (SD) Jimmie Åkesson dominated a party leaders debate over the weekend, winning the overall debate with policies on immigration and crime.
The debate, which featured Åkesson along with the leaders of several other major parties such as Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson and Green party spokeswoman Isabella Lövin, covered the four main topics of immigration, law and order, jobs and welfare, and environmental issues Swedish broadcaster SVT reports.
Following the debate, polling firm Novus, conducted a poll on each subject with Åkesson winning the immigration debate with 30 per cent of the vote and the law and order debate, also with 30 per cent.
“Overall, Jimmie Åkesson managed best, with two first places, a second place and at worst a fourth place,” Torbjörn Sjöström, CEO of Novus said. Åkesson came fourth in the debate on environmental issues.
According to a poll from Demoskop for Swedish newspaper Expressen released last month, the biggest concern for Swedish voters ahead of this year’s national election is immigration with law and order coming in third.
Populist Sweden Democrats Leader Vows to ‘Declare War’ on Rising Levels of Organised Crime
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 18, 2018
Another poll, also released last month, revealed that the SD was also making major gains in the youth vote, becoming the most popular party for voters aged 18 to 34.
The trend follows that of Italian populist anti-establishment parties who also saw a large share of the youth vote in the Italian national election earlier this year with 75 per cent of first-time 18-year-old voters casting ballots for parties like La Lega and the Five Star Movement.
The Sweden Democrats have consistently been the party most opposed to mass migration in Sweden since the height of the 2015 migrant crisis. Åkesson has even called for the migration board of Sweden to start focusing on deportations rather than new arrivals and turn the agency into the “remigration” board.
Åkesson has also announced he will implement tougher policies on organised crimes and on criminals who operate in many of the heavily migrant populated no-go suburbs around Swedish cities. In a leaders debate in the Swedish parliament earlier this year the populist leader said he would look at deploying the Swedish military to support police and restoring order to troubled areas.