Extreme right-wing, nationalist parties have had varying success in much of Europe, such as Italy and France. Sweden is one of the last places that an anti-immigrant party would be expected to do well in the polls. Unexpectedly, that is exactly what has happened. It has thrown Swedish politics into turmoil.
The far-right Sweden Democrats gained 20 of the 349 parliamentary seats up for election. A center-right coalition gained 172 seats, just short of a majority. The center-left coalition, headed by the Social Democrats who have ruled 65 of the last 78 years gathered 157 seats.
Here is an indication of how far to the right the Sweden Democrats are. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt of the ruling center-right coalition adamantly refused to include Sweden Democrats in his coalition. Reinfeldt said that he would first try to draw the Greens from the opposition coalition into his government. Thus far, the opposition is holding firm in refusing to break ranks.
“I have been clear. We will not cooperate with or be made dependent on the Sweden Democrats. I will turn to the Green to get broader support in parliament,” Reinfeldt said.
That a relatively conservative government would rather include liberal Greens instead of a conservative party like the Sweden Democrats explains why many Swedes consider that the Sweden Democrats have a neo-Nazi ideology.
Clearly, even tolerant Sweden is feeling disenchantment with immigration and the upheavals it can cause.
Below is an anti-Muslim ad by the Sweden Democrats. It is not in English, but the images are clear that an aging pensioner is being pushed aside by Muslim immigrants.