The real winners were of course, the Swedish Democrat party. Running on a Eurosceptic, anti-immigration platform they made huge gains in the election; coming away in third place with 18 percent of the vote. Due to their roots in far-right extremism, the party however is shunned by the mainstream parties, and it could be time for parties from different parts of the political spectrum to join forces as right and left wing parties are finding themselves looking for common ground in the wake of challenges posed by the far right.
Sputnik: Does this election result mark a turning point in Swedish politics?
Dr Anders Hellström: This election has buried the ‘bloc’ politics. For a very long time in Sweden there has been a struggle between the left and the right —the red and blue — and now we have the Swedish Democrats. It will become much more complicated. As you know, you have managed to find a solution in Germany and other places.
There will be some kind of a solution but I don’t know which. I just know that you have to think ‘new’; you cannot go with the traditional divide of the red and blue any longer because it doesn’t work. You have to form new coalitions but right now we don’t even know who will become the new Prime Minister so it’s quite chaotic right now.
Dr Anders Hellström: It’s funny that you mention Le Pen because what I think is really interesting is to see what is a general trend towards a strong polarisation. So you have Le Pen – like I said – but you also have the new French President Emmanuel Macron who slaughtered Le Pen in the second round of the election.
And also when you look at Swedish politics today the resistance to the Swedish Democrats is really, really strong in Sweden. So even if the Swedish Democrats have grown a lot, the main antagonists have grown.
Sputnik: Is immigration entirely the cause of the Swedish Democrats’ success?
Dr Anders Hellström: No, I wouldn’t say so.
But I would say that’s what happened during the Fall 2015 – the massive intake of refugees from the civil war in Syria – that has challenged the capacity of many, many municipalities. And there are a lot of people who are worried or concerned about what will happen.
So even if they Swedish Democrats are extremely nostalgic, they are also visionary. Even if this vision is backward-oriented.
Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Dr Anders Hellström and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.