Who's Afraid of the Sweden Democrats?

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Swedish teen's sit-in climate protest

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Swedish teen's sit-in climate protest

"I know who won this election", said party leader Jimmie Akesson to a great jubilation from supporters.

Ever since, however, the tide has turned again, and Europe's drift to the right, coupled with the ongoing demise of center-left parties, has continued. Victory for the Sweden Democrats means that neither of these blocks got anything close to a parliamentary majority.

A senior German official is describing the Sweden's election, in which the governing party lost ground and a far-right party made gains, as a "turning point" for Sweden and Europe. And the role the Sweden Democrats will play is still unclear. Both of the main blocs had indicated before the election that they would refuse to govern with the Sweden Democrats. He said his party had "won" the elections because of its gain in seats.

Reuters reports that following the result, Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson told party colleagues: "We will gain huge influence over what happens in Sweden during the coming weeks, months and years". Speculation about viable options includes a combination of the Social Democrats, the Centre Party and Liberal Party, with parliamentary support from the Greens and the Left Party. Thankfully for them, their most important rival - the center-right Moderate Party - also had a relatively poor showing, losing 3.5 percent of its 2014 vote despite considerable problems faced by the governing coalition.

Before the vote, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said: "This election is a referendum about our welfare".

Both sides are keeping the Sweden Democrats, an anti-immigrant party with roots in a neo-Nazi movement that got almost 18 percent, at arm's length. That might explain why the Sweden Democrats didn't perform as well as predicted.

Preliminary results had the ruling party receiving 28.4% of the vote, which was estimated to translate into a loss of 13 seats in Sweden's 175-seat parliament, the Riksdagen.

Similarly, the party's proposal to only take in asylum-seekers from Nordic nations is a de facto ban on refugees that goes against Sweden's history as one of the world's most humanitarian nations.

Tesla's Musk smokes marijuana on comedy podcast
The smoke session caught lots of attention on social media Thursday night, and rattled some Tesla investors early Friday morning. Last night Elon Musk , the billionaire inventor and electric vehicle innovator, was a guest on Joe Rogan's podcast .

In Sweden, the increased vote for the nationalist Sweden Democrats has shifted the political landscape for the two traditional political blocs who are trying to form a coalition government. Some critics say that these situations also compel mainstream parties to pander toward the fringes - a criticism that certainly has emerged about Rutte.

Mattias, a Stockholm resident at an election night party in the city, said he was "extremely concerned" about the far right's steady climb since it entered parliament in 2006 with 5.7 percent.

The election had been watched closely for signs about the extent to which a cascade of anti-immigrant fear could hit even Sweden, which has always been one of Europe's most open nations toward refugees.

The party has worked to soften its neo-Nazi image while helping to break down longstanding taboos on what Swedes could say openly about immigration and integration without being shunned as racists. That would create an opening for Ulf Kristersson, the leader of the opposition Moderates, to try to become the prime minister of an Alliance government.

At the same time, the Sweden Democrats party still prides itself on its consistently hard-line position on immigration-and it proved that it could very ably inject its ideas into the political mainstream.

Lofven eventually said Sweden no longer could cope with the influx and immigration laws were tightened. Most notably, he's been an outspoken critic of the rising number of immigrants in Sweden.

Akesson had labelled the vote a choice between immigration and welfare in a campaign that was unusually antagonistic. "It is clear that the claim that the far-right is on an inexorable roll and will devour everything that stands in its way is false", said one European Union official.

Recommended News

  • Hurricane Florence Could Be East Coast's Strongest Storm In Decades

    Hurricane Florence Could Be East Coast's Strongest Storm In Decades

    He told The Chronicle Sunday that once Florence hits land, destructive winds and huge rainfall flooding may take hold of the area. According to NPR.org , forecasters expect Florence to reach maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour over the next 36 hours.
    Hurricane Florence Grows Stronger, Heads Toward US East Coast

    Hurricane Florence Grows Stronger, Heads Toward US East Coast

    And all this will be accompanied by tropical hurricane-force winds that could knock down trees and cut electric power, NOAA says. Olivia is forecast to pass over the islands sometime Tuesday night into Wednesday morning local time as a tropical storm.
    New iPhone XC pictures surface along with preorder and shipment dates

    New iPhone XC pictures surface along with preorder and shipment dates

    Complying with the previous leaks, the iPhone 9 flaunts a single rear camera setup, similar to the iPhone 8. At the moment, Apple has only confirmed a September 12 launch in Cupertino, California.
  • US tech firms ask for protection from next Trump tariffs

    US tech firms ask for protection from next Trump tariffs

    In addition, the chip industry is a source of trade surplus for the United States , including with China, Intel argued. The president's solution is a simple one: stop making things in China, and make them in the United States instead.
    Les Moonves Has Reached a Settlement to Leave CBS

    Les Moonves Has Reached a Settlement to Leave CBS

    Per the New Yorker , "Several of the women expressed outrage that Moonves might be enriched by his departure from the company". Earlier this year, he uncovered allegations of physical assault that forced NY state prosecutor Eric Schneiderman to resign.
    Freeman, Neal exit opener vs. Eagles with knee injuries

    Freeman, Neal exit opener vs. Eagles with knee injuries

    Even if Jones is playing nice, Sark will get heat for not at least using his top player as a decoy. To quarterback Matt Ryan's credit, he did not blame offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.
  • Barack Obama says midterms represent chance for sanity

    Barack Obama says midterms represent chance for sanity

    At an event in North Dakota, Trump again brought up Obama's address. "It's supposed to be the party... of fiscal conservatism". His prescription, he said, was "when each of us as citizens say we are going to take it upon ourselves to do it differently".
    Woodward: Mattis, Kelly denials of his book quotes untrue

    Woodward: Mattis, Kelly denials of his book quotes untrue

    In the piece , an unnamed senior administration official says people within the White House are actively "thwarting Mr. He accused the media of trying to undermine the Trump administration and said he found that "incredibly disturbing".
    Serena Williams advances to US Open final with eyes on record

    Serena Williams advances to US Open final with eyes on record

    At Wimbledon she had six matches in her and, you sensed, simply didn't have the wattage for a seventh. Her bare-bones technique - just toss the ball and hit it - is also what makes it so hard to read.
  • What to Expect at Apple's 2018 iPhone Event

    What to Expect at Apple's 2018 iPhone Event

    A leak revealed that Apple will name the 2018 iPhones as the iPhone XS , the iPhone XS Plus , and the iPhone XC . Kuo says that the new low-priced MacBook from Apple will replace the existing 12-inch MacBook in its lineup.
    Trump speculates about the author of

    Trump speculates about the author of "unfair" piece published this week

    Second, Trump and his press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, were teed off that the op-ed writer chose not to sign the piece . Many have privately shared some of the article's same concerns about Mr Trump with colleagues, friends and reporters.
    Tech reseller shows iPhones keep most of their value after a year

    Tech reseller shows iPhones keep most of their value after a year

    That's the leaked branding name tipped for the rumoured 6.5-inch iPhone CS - the biggest screen display on any iPhone to date. However, this is far from a settled matter, as price forecasts for Apple's three upcoming phones have been scattered.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.