Sweden is shifting to the right: the rightwing of the Swedish Reichstag has won a narrow victory, at the parliamentary elections from last Sunday. Mainly because of the radical-right party Sweden Democrats. The party gained votes because of their fight against gang violence and immigration.
By Jorik Simonides
A man was killed by gunfire in a shopping mall in Malmö last month. This incident in the third city of Sweden, happened in broad daylight. A woman was injured and taken to the hospital. The police stated that the shooting was caused by tensions in the criminal underworld. The killer turns out to be a 15-year-old boy.
This incident is not an isolated one: Sweden is bothered with more of this kind of violence lately, which is not bound to the bigger cities anymore. The winner of the latest elections, the Sweden Democrats, took advantage of this violence.
The gang violence in Sweden is to blame for the immigration and integration laws of the country, says the Sweden Democrat party. This results in eleven extra seats, what makes the party now the second biggest in the country. Last Wednesday, party leader Jimmie Åkesson claimed the victory and the prime minister Magdalena Andersson announced her resignation on the same day.
Last Wednesday, prime minister Andersson of the Social Democrats resigned, even though her party was the biggest in the country. This is because of the political system in Sweden, where parties join a political group with a candidate prime minister. The right group turned out to be the bigger one, with a narrow majority.
The residents of Malmö have just recovered from the initial shock: August 19th, the city was in an uproar after hearing over twenty gunshots in the shopping mall. This incident divides the city. Evidently, the Social Democrats, which is the city’s favourite, have won again this election. Not everybody is dying to express their voting behaviour.
“The winner is not my natural favourite”, says an inhabitant of Malmö, despite his vote for the Sweden Democrats. He does not like to tell everyone: some old public figures are associated with neonazi ideas. Prime minister Andersson emphasised this shortly before the elections in an interview with The Guardian.
The inhabitant sees and hears this as well. He likes to keep his name private because of this. “The other side has been lying to us for such a long time. The winning side has promised to do something against those shootings and violence.”
The man worries about the latest violence. He took this into consideration before voting for the Sweden Democrats. “The punishment for killing is not high enough. They want to do something about that as well.”
One crisis at the time
Not much further away from this man is Jerker. He is still mourning the results from Wednesday night. “The outcome worries me. The Sweden Democrats have a history with neo-nazism.” He thinks gang violence dominated the elections. “The elections were all about these criminal issues. We have bigger problems. I feel safe.”
“The public has only space for one crisis at the time”Ander Hellström, Malmö University
In these times of war, a gasoline crisis and insane inflation, it is remarkable that such a specific theme is the headline in their campagne. The other themes were mentioned, but to a lesser extent. “The public has only space for one crisis at the time”, says political scientist Ander Hellström from Malmö University.
He is looking at an increase in debates about migration, since the migration crisis in 2015. The Sweden Democrats was the first party to connect this to the gang violence today. This campaign, this opinion was adopted by the established parties.
A somewhat hasty conclusion, explains Hellström. “Twenty percent of the population are immigrants. So of course, immigrants are also among those who also are involved in the shootings.”
Hellström does not think the connection is strange. He proceeds: “There have been a lot of shootings. And it is true that the demographic composition has changed. Sweden is much more heterogeneous than one decade ago. But these are two separate issues.”
The victory of the radical right party of the Sweden Democrats was obvious after closing the polling stations at Sundaynight. Thanks to this big win, Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Moderate Party, is now the intended prime minister.
His job is to form a new government, probably with the support of the Sweden Democrats. To offer the party a place in his government is out of the question. Every form of conjunction is ruled out for other parties for now.
This story is written for an audience in politically engaged and interested Europe and could be published on www.euronews.com.