01:11 GMT +320 September 2018
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    'There's Bewilderment in Swedish Politics Ahead of Sunday's Vote' - Scholar

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    The conservative Sweden Democrats are expected to make big gains in the Nordic country's general elections on Sunday. The party, which has focused on key issues such as immigration, crime and health care, currently has the third largest number of seats in Sweden's national legislature behind the Social Democrats and the Moderate Party.

    Sputnik discussed this with Anders Hellström, Associate Professor in Political Science at the Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity, and Welfare at Malmö University.

    Sputnik: What's your view then, are we going to see a right-wing government prevail in the elections that are upcoming?

    Anders Hellström: The thing is, we don't know that, actually, it's kind of like bewilderment in Swedish politics right now, we're going to have the vote on Sunday, but kind of uncertain which government there will be, even if the Social Democrats drop significantly, they can still become the biggest party.

    READ MORE: Sweden's Largest Party Caught Peddling Lies About Right-Wing Rivals in Arabic

    Sputnik: It's not the best news that's coming out of Sweden in recent times, is that why the population is bewildered by the political landscape at the moment?

    Anders Hellström: I think there are two points, to just provide a more nuanced picture I think. During this summer there were huge forest fires throughout Sweden and since that was high on the political agenda, the green issues, then, of course, the Green party gained in their voting support.

    Also, when it comes to official statistics, it's actually showing that Sweden is doing quite well at the moment, but the thing is, even if official statistics says it's doing quite well and the crime rate is actually dropping, it (may not be) reflected in your personal life situation, if you don't see in your daily life that the economy is doing really great, because maybe you in your personal life situation don't experience that.

    Sputnik: How strong is the voter base for the right-wing party in Sweden and what are the reasons for this? Is it purely the immigration situation or there are other factors involved as well?

    Anders Hellström: I would say it's the immigration situation alone, and when these questions are at the top of the head of the individual voter, then they're actually gaining in the electoral fortunes; this issue is gaining visibility and, therefore, the Sweden Democrats are gaining votes. Because when you talk about the Social Democrats, it seems like the old Social Democrats, they say, are the heroes of the nation and the new Social Democrats are the traitors of the nation; they have diluted the common man and they are the traitors of the nation.

    READ MORE: Sweden Democrats Lash Out Against UN Refugee Quotas, Push for Repatriation

    Sputnik: Some experts have noted that Sweden is bound to become the latest European country to be taken over by a right-wing shift after Italy and, obviously, with Hungry, with the Brexit vote, we've got the hung parliament in Germany as well…

    Anders Hellström: I would say it's rather slim, because even if the Sweden Democrats have succeeded very well in maximizing votes, no other party would like to cooperate with them, so therefore, they need to receive more than 50% of the vote and that is quite unlikely, and no other parties want to collaborate with them. Yes, there is wind blowing to what's right, populous or extremist, but this wind blows simultaneously in opposite directions, so what I'm saying is, it's a strong, strong polarization in European politics.

    Sputnik: What's your feeling then? Obviously, you're talking about the wind of change, is that likely to have any significant effect on policy for whichever party actually is successful in future elections? Will there be a significant change in strategy then?

    Anders Hellström: The prevailing, the only vision there is in Swedish politics is really the nostalgic vision; as I said before, the Sweden Democrats would like to restore Sweden as it used to be, but no one is talking about having a strong forward-looking vision. So therefore, I think there's lack of vision in the public debate today.

    Sputnik: What's your feeling about this other topic that seems to be engaging some kind of a little bit of momentum, it's the topic on the agenda of this so-called Swexit, how likely is that to take place, what's your opinion?

    Anders Hellström: Not at all likely, because the only party that would actually like to have a Swexit is actually the Sweden Democrats and all of the other parties either don't have a strong opinion or they are positive about EU membership from the Sweden perspective.

    The views and opinions expressed by the contributors do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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