Following a successful election, in which his party made considerable gains, Mattias Karlsson, the leader of the Sweden Democrats' parliamentary group, has stirred a controversy by stating on Facebook that Sweden had only two choices, "victory or death."
Karlsson noted that Sweden was "in real trouble," as it has been before in its history. The senior Sweden Democrat went on to laud "the steadfast stubbornness, conviction, self-sacrifice and leadership of a small group of patriots," which, he claimed, allowed Sweden to withstand all attacks.
"It wasn't our choice, but our opponents have really forced us into an existential fight for our culture and our nation's survival. There are only two choices, victory or death. There only one path, and it leads forward," Karlsson said.
To add some historic context, Karlsson posted an excerpt from a speech by UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill given in 1940, shortly after the German forces attacked France, as well as an image of the Swedish Carolinian army, which in the 17th-18th centuries enjoyed a reputation of never backing down, even when heavily outnumbered.
Lastly, Karlsson pledged to carry out an analysis of the Sweden Democrats' (SD) election campaign in order to "hone and refine" the party's political weapons.
Karlsson's warlike eloquence prompted strong reactions from political commentators and politicians.
Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, whose party had its worst election in decades, slammed the Sweden Democrats for "publicly embracing pure war rhetoric," adding that this was proof enough that the SD should never be given the power to decide the nation's future.
His fellow Social Democrat and Public Administration Minister Ardalan Shekarabi castigated the party's "anti-liberal worldview," adding that anyone who sees the SD as "government material" is "naïve" and "hasn't learned anything from the history of Europe."
Liberal Party leader Jan Björklund described Karlsson's statement as "grotesque."
Alex Voronov, the political editor of three liberal-leaning local newspapers, tweeted that Karlsson was "living in a fascist fantasy world."
Karlsson brushed aside all criticism by claiming that his statement was exaggerated as needed in a political pep talk.
Furthermore, he added that Sweden has been steered for a long time by "overtly internationalist parties" and that a diminishing part of the population had a "Swedish identity and loyalty."
In the aftermath of the September 9 general election, the SD jumped from gaining 12.9 percent to 17.6 percent of the vote, effectively disallowing either of Sweden's two major blocs from forming a government without concessions.
Nevertheless, all the leaders of Sweden's major political parties have ruled out aligning themselves with the SD, in what is seen as a reenactment of the so-called "December agreement" from 2014, when the majority of Swedish parties set aside their political disagreements to form a "cordon sanitaire" around the SD.