Sweden is set to see a major political shift after national elections on Sunday, as the populist Sweden Democrats have a chance to become the largest party in the country.
Sweden goes to the polls on Sunday to elect a new government, and the ruling Social Democrats, who have been the most dominant party in the country for decades, could not only lose power but, according to polls, possibly even lose their status as the largest party in the country.
A number of issues have dominated the debate leading up to the election, including rising levels of violent crime and the impact of mass migration, which was shown to be the most important issue for Swedes according to a poll from earlier this year.
The growth of heavily migrant-populated “vulnerable suburbs,” commonly referred to as no-go zones due to difficulties emergency services often face operating in them, has also become a major issue in Sweden along, with a rise in gun violence and grenade attacks linked to organised criminal gangs.
There are three main alliances or parties currently vying for power in the election, each with different platforms and, in some cases, with a number of scandals that have occurred on the campaign trail.
The eurosceptic, anti-mass migration Sweden Democrats (SD), led by Jimmie Åkesson, have seen a meteoric rise in the polls since the last national election in 2014, where they received 12.9 percent of the vote.
Much of the support for the party has come following the 2015 migrant crisis, with many voters favouring its tough stance on mass migration. In a party leaders’ debate earlier this year, Mr Åkesson dominated his rivals on immigration and law and order issues, leading to viewers declaring him the victor in a post-debate poll.
The SD have also put forward policies to crack down on organised crime, including proposing that the Swedish army should support the police in no-go zones where they, and other emergency services, have come under attack from residents.
Sweden Democrats Promise to Reduce Asylum Numbers to Zero and End Chain Migration https://t.co/0ztLvh4usZ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 18, 2018
The party’s tough positions have also earned them the ire of Islamists, far-left extremists, and even members of the media, with SD leader Jimmie Åkesson being personally targetted last year when his home was attacked.
TV4 sports journalist Christoffer Eriksson victim-blamed Åkesson after the attack, saying: “For you see, Jimmie is a Nazi. He, Kent, Linus, Andrew and others, they are Nazis. And the Nazis have no place in rooms with us,” he declared.
Åkesson has also been threatened by radical Islamists as recently as this week, when alleged Islamic State sources made threats to kill him and his four-year-old son if he did not step down from campaigning.
Most polls show the SD in second place behind the ruling Social Democrats, despite big gains, but some show the party in first, fueling speculation that the SD could upset the political establishment.
However, even if the populists came in first, it is unlikely the establishment parties would form a coalition with them, having declared a cordon sanitaire around them — for now.
The ruling Social Democrats, who have dominated Swedish politics since before the Second World War, are now looking at the very real possibility of their worst election result in history, according to polling data.
The leftist party rules the country alongside its partners in the Green Party in the so-called red-green coalition, and are still the main contenders to govern the country alongside their main rivals, the centre-right Alliance.
Led by current Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, the Social Democrats have overseen the mass movement of asylum seekers into the country since 2015, which has led to a surge in new problems for the country including child marriages, a rise in ‘honour crime’ issues, and the growth of radical Islamic extremism.
‘Like a Military Operation’: 100 Cars Burnt in Swedish ‘No-Go Zones’ https://t.co/60d5vuidr2
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 14, 2018
Violence and car burnings in no-go zones have also grown under the leadership of Löfven, with 100 cars being damaged by arsonists in a single night in Gothenburg last month.
Violence toward police has also grown, including the bombing of a police station in Helsingborg which he admitted was an “attack against our democracy.”
Despite these growing issues, Löfven denied the existence of no-go zones while on an official visit to the United States, to the dismay of Sweden Democrats leader Åkesson, who told Breitbart London: “The police themselves have confirmed the existence of no-go zones for the entire world to see. The statements of the Prime Minister is nothing short of a classic example of fake news.”
The Social Democrats have also seen scandal during the campaign, including a member who spread lies about the Sweden Democrats and the Moderate Party in Arabic on social media, claiming both parties wanted to ban all halal meat, close mosques, ban the Islamic veil for anyone under 18, close all Islamic schools, and try and accuse Muslims of crimes in order to take away their children.
The centre-right “Alliance” consists of the Moderate Party, the Christian Democrats, the Liberals, and the Centre Party, who have steadily adopted many of the talking points of the Sweden Democrats to present a real challenge to the ruling red-green coalition.
The Moderate Party, led by Ulf Kristersson, has adopted a much tougher stance on migration and integration issues following the rise of the Sweden Democrats in the polls, including calling for legislation to arrest Islamic “morality police” operating in no-go zones in migrant-populated suburbs.
Swedish Moderate Party Calls for Arrests of ‘Morality Police’ in No-Go Zones https://t.co/vzp1Qui9lj
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 24, 2018
Members of the Moderates have also supported the Sweden Democrats’ idea of allowing the military to operate in no-go zones to aid police. The Moderates’ coalition partner, the Christian Democrats, have also talked tough on integration issues, with leader Ebba Busch-Thor calling for the banning of the public broadcast of the Islamic call to prayer.
An average of recent polls shows that even with the support of the Greens, the Social Democrats would only have 29.4 percent of the vote, compared to the Alliance with 37.6 percent — but in either case neither would be able to form a majority coalition alone, which could afford the Sweden Democrats major influence in the legislative chamber.
Sweden, average of all pollsters last poll before the election (not including SCB):
S-S&D: 24.4% (-6.6)
SD-EFDD: 19.2% (+6.5)
M-EPP: 17.6% (-5.7)
V-LEFT: 10% (+4.3)
C-ALDE: 8.1% (+2)
L-ALDE: 6% (+0.6)
KD-EPP: 5.9% (+1.3)
MP-G/EFA: 5% (-1.9)
— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) September 8, 2018
The election is scheduled to take place on Sunday with polls closing at 8 p.m. local time.
Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com