The Sweden Democrats party are set to topple 101 years of socialist rule in elections set for September 9.
By – Leigh McManus
Polls predict that the favoured party, with roots in neo-Nazism and white nationalism, will win as much as 25 percent of the September vote.
Despite Swedes enjoying a high living standard and a growing economy, supporters of the party are maintaining populist views with connotations of Anti-Muslim attitudes.
Last week in Sölvesborg, a municipality in the deep south of Sweden, around 4,000 far-right supporters rallied in support of the party – and to plot the downfall of the socialist government.
They were joined by the Sweden Democrats leader, Jimmie Åkesson who gave a speech at the party’s annual summer festival.
Amid the heavy metal music, a 71-year-old retiree called Jan shouted: ‘He’s the only politician I can trust, we need him for our country. I don’t have so many years left, but for my children and for my grandchildren.’
The Sweden Democrats believe that immigration has stretched the country’s public services, and that Muslim entering the country are diluting Swedish culture to the point of near extinction.
A Swedish TV channel refused to air a campaign on its channel from the party in 2010, saying it contained racial hatred.
The Sweden Democrats at last week’s festival seem to agree with the sentiments of the ad.
‘Why should we change into a Middle Eastern country? Why should we care about Islam? Sweden is not an Islamic country.
‘Why should we be influenced by one of the worst ideologies in the world? I don’t understand it,’ Richard Jomshof, a Sweden Democrat lawmaker told NBC.
In June, Jimmie Åkesson, 39, branded the EU ‘a large web of corruption’, and said Sweden should hold a referendum after the general elections this September.
The Scandinavian country has registered 400,000 asylum applications since 2012 – or one for every 25 inhabitants, a record in Europe – with a peak of 162,000 applications in 2015.
To contain the refugee influx, the government has re-established border controls and toughened conditions for granting asylum, residence permits and family reunification.
This has led to a rise in attitudes like that of the Sweden Democrat Party.
This week a Muslim woman won a discrimination case in Sweden after she was rejected during a job interview for refusing to shake the hand of the interviewer.
Upon arrival she told the male interviewer that she did not want to shake his hand, citing religious rules of her faith.
Ms Alhajeh claims she was then frogmarched out of the office and told the interview was over.
This week, the Labour Court ruled in her favour, and ordered the company to pay Ms Alhajeh 40,000 SEK (£3,426) in compensation.
‘I believe in God, which is very rare in Sweden… and I should be able to do that and be accepted as long as I’m not hurting anyone,’ she told the BBC.
Read more: From 2018/03/29