Swedish Populist Leader Vows to Vote Down Governments That Refuse to Give His Party Influence

jimmieakesson
AFP

Assuming the role of potential kingmaker, populist Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Åkesson has vowed to refuse to support any coalition deal that would keep his party from influencing policy.

The Sweden Democrats leader, who saw his party achieve a record high result in last Sunday’s national election with 17.6 percent of the vote, has reached out to the conservative Moderate Party to talk of a potential coalition but said he will not support any proposed government that relegates the influence of his party, Aftonbladet reports.

“Now, there will be a mandatory vote on the prime minister in a couple of weeks and then we’ll vote ‘no’ to all governments that do not give us any influence,” Åkesson said and added that he hoped current Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Löfven would go as soon as possible.

When asked which policy areas he would like to see the SD have an influence on, Åkesson listed several including immigration, pensions, and crime policy.

Åkesson also extended a hand to Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson saying: “If you want a majority in the Riksdag (Swedish national legislature) then you should talk to us,” but admitted no parties had reached out to him at this stage.

With no clear majority for the Social Democrat coalition or the centre-right Alliance, the task of forming a new government in Sweden is unclear.

While the Social Democrat alliance with the Green Party received 32.7 percent of the vote, the Alliance scored 40.3 percent. But due to the Social Democrats being the largest party, they have the first opportunity at forming a government and could beat the Alliance if they include the far-left Left Party in a new coalition — but still not have a majority.

Another scenario could see the Social Democrats reach out to the Liberals and Centre Party, both members of the Alliance, to come close to a majority at 46.8 percent. The Social Democrats had previously tried to attract the two parties after the 2014 election but were rejected.

The election has also seen controversy after Danish politician and OSCE election observer Michael Aastrup Jensen slammed the election process saying: “In all the many election observations I’ve been on, I have not seen anything that comes close to how undemocratic the Swedish voting system is.”

Following Jensen’s comments on Monday, other observers have spoken out against the way the election was conducted with Amanda Valentin, Deputy Secretary-General of the Swedish International Liberal Centre (Silc) saying: “When compiling our observations, it is clear that there are several problems with the Swedish system that should be addressed.”

“In particular, foreign electoral officers responded to how easy it was to see how people would vote, as most voters open the ballot papers without hiding their choice,” she added.

The number of invalid votes and spoiled ballots greatly increased from 2014 which saw 15,485 invalid votes while the 2018 election saw an increase of nearly 10,000 with 24,479 in total.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com

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