In a continuation of an anti-immigrant trend making its way across Europe, with its most notable stops in the U.K., where Nigel Farage’s UKIP dominated European parliamentary elections, and in France where Marine Le Pen’s National Front did the same, Sweden’s anti-immigrant party has surged in elections on Sunday. The party, called The Sweden Democrats and led by party chairman Jimmie Åkesson, has become the country’s third largest. Swedish news outlet, The Local, reports:
So how has a far-right anti-immigration party managed to capture the hearts of around one in eight Swedes in a country with a reputation for Nordic tolerance?
Sweden currently has one of the world’s most generous refugee policies. Around 2,000 people seek asylum here every week and the country grants automatic residency to all refugees fleeing the Syria conflict.
The Sweden Democrats want a radical overhaul of these laws, arguing money should instead be spent on social welfare and humanitarian aid to cap the numbers arriving in the first place.
None of the other main parties in Sweden have spoken out in favour of cutting immigration, although former Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt did bring up the ongoing costs to the country.