Political Gridlock Ensues as Sweden’s Far-Right Party Gains Influence

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share in Email Print article
Written by Hannah Bergstrom

A month after Sweden’s general election took place, political disarray ensues as Sweden’s far-right party gains influence. The party, Sweden Democrats, was the biggest victor in this general election—resulting in political gridlock in the Swedish government.

Sweden’s Riksdag (parliament) is made up of three major parties—Social Democrats with 100 seats, Moderates with 70 seats, and Sweden Democrats with 64 seats. Since the last election, Social Democrats lost 13 seats, Moderates lost 14 seats, and Sweden Democrats gained 13 seats. As a result of this shift, Social Democratic leader Stefan Löfven lost the vote of no confidence and was ousted from his role as Prime Minister.

The current Parliamentary speaker, Andreas Norlén, now has the responsibility of proposing a candidate to be the new Prime Minister. Norlén will have four chances to propose a candidate, and if all of these proposals fail, a new election must be held—which would be unprecedented in Swedish history. Ultimately, compromises must be made between the parties in order to move past the political gridlock—either the two main blocs will have to support each other or will need support from the Sweden Democrats. At this point, it seems none of the parties are willing to make such compromises.

The Sweden Democratic party’s influence became apparent in 2014, during a time when there was a major influx in immigration to Sweden. Although Sweden Democrats currently reject radical ideologies, the party has roots in Nazism and Fascism. The party is currently described as being nationalist, far-right, and anti-immigration, but others have gone as far as to describe the party as racist and xenophobic. These ideological roots have caused other political blocs to vehemently oppose them and refuse to make negotiations with them. On the other hand, their conservative stance on immigration is a major reason for their success in this election.

Sweden has historically had a rather liberal immigration policy; however, in the last four years the rhetoric has shifted from opening the doors to refugees to tightening policies and taking a more conservative approach to immigration and integration. In 2014, over 80,000 asylum seekers came to Sweden, with the majority being Syrians seeking refuge from their war-torn country. This influx of immigration caused a shift in attitudes in public and political spheres, and people are becoming more wary of the social and economic consequences of liberal immigration policies.

In the coming weeks and months, Sweden’s political blocs will have to make negotiations as they search for a Prime Minister candidate they can agree on. It is uncertain whether parties will need to form alliances or compromise their platform promises, but one thing is clear: the far-right party is here to stay, and will continue to shift the sands of Sweden’s political grounds.