16:24 GMT17 February 2020
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    Right-wing populist parties have been entrenched in Europe for a long time, even holding office in a number of countries. Scandinavia is no exception, with the True Finns' Party, the Danish People's Party and the Progress Party all having entered the parliaments of Finland, Denmark and Norway respectively.

    In Sweden, it is only a matter of time before the Sweden Democrats (SD), currently labeled as political outcasts, will be invited to cooperate in the government, German political scientist Timo Lochocki of the US think tank German Marshall Fund, who has studied the spread of right-wing ideology in Europe, told Swedish Radio.

    Lohocki believes the developments in Sweden are some kind of litmus test for the rest of Europe.

    "It is a kind of test lab, as what happens in Sweden today, will almost certainly also repeat itself in Germany in about 5-10 years. Both Sweden and Germany are strong economies, but the public debate of today rather concerns migration and the EU than questions of wealth distribution, as before," he said.

    Refugees sleep outside the entrance of the Swedish Migration Agency's arrival center
    © AFP 2019 / TT NEWS AGENCY / STIG-AKE JONSSON
    The Sweden Democrats have become much more competent compared to their German counterpart Alternative for Germany (AFD), he argues.

    "They are welded, well-organized and have a professional management team," said Lochocki. "Alternative for Germany, which only is a few years old, is still torn internally between different interests and alignments."

    In Sweden, public confidence for established parties has been eroding for a very long time, and SD may in the present climate actually start to set the agenda, despite being a minority opposition.

    Recent polls show a steady increase of public support for SD. PM Stefan Löfven of the Social Democratic Party, may find it increasingly difficult to attract back the voters his party has lost to SD. His party would require an even stricter immigration policy, according to Lochocki; who finds this scenario improbable as the party leaders are much more liberal than their voters.

    "Very soon, the Sweden Democrats will be about to take their place in the government," claims the German political scientist. This may not happen in the next election, but some day it will become impossible to form a government without them, he predicts.

    For the Conservatives, the former party in power, Lochocki sees two alternatives: be reduced to a junior partner to the Social Democrats, or agree to a coalition with the Sweden Democrats.

    In the 2014 general election, the Sweden Democrats polled 12.9 percent of votes in its largest success so far. However, support for SD has been crawling upwards, peaking at 28.8 percent, according to various polls at the beginning of the year.

    Related:

    Nordic Intermission: More Refugees to Europe, Fewer to Sweden
    No Break for Swedish Greens: Nazi Diners, 9/11 and Handshake Row
    Tags:
    populism, right-wing, Sweden Democrats party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), Scandinavia, Sweden
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