Sweden: Conservative leader working to form government
Swedish Conservative leader Ulf Kristersson is working on Thursday to form a government the day after his coalition with the far-right narrowly won the election.
“I am now starting work on forming a new effective government,” the leader had summoned on Wednesday evening in response to the unprecedented success that had ousted the left from power for eight years. “Now we will restore order in Sweden!” he promised.
With 176 seats, including 73 for the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD), the four-party right-wing bloc is just ahead of the left (173 seats), according to a near-final count by the agency • Election coverage of 99.9% of polling stations.
Sunday’s election was so close that tens of thousands of missing votes had to be added on Wednesday. The outgoing prime minister, Social Democrat Magdalena Andersson, conceded her camp’s defeat and announced her resignation effective Thursday.
The change is historic: never before has a Swedish government in parliament relied on the SD, the big election winner with 20.5% of the vote and a new position as the second party in the country.
But when Sweden’s Democrats have become the first party of the majority of the Right, they cannot claim the Prime Minister’s post promised by Mr Kristersson, because the three movements of the traditional Right (Moderates, Christians (Democrats and Liberals) stand behind the government participation of the SD skeptical about.
Former gymnast Ulf Kristersson will have to pull off the acrobatics of completing and maintaining the union of the three liberal, conservative and nationalist right-wingers. It was he who, at the end of 2019, first envisaged a scenario of cooperation between the right and the SD.
“We will only be one or two seats away from a government crisis,” Magdalena Andersson has already warned.
– With or without SD in government? –
The most likely scenario, according to analysts, is that the SD only supports the government in parliament without being a direct part of it.
“The process will take as long as it takes,” Jimmie Åkesson said Wednesday, pledging to be a “constructive force and initiative.”
The heir to a neo-Nazi group when it was founded in 1988, the far-right party has gradually become commonplace in the Swedish political landscape, entering parliament in 2010 with 5.7% and then rising with every election, against a background of high immigration and Crime gang problems in Sweden.
The campaign was dominated by issues favorable to the right-wing opposition: crime and deadly reckonings between migrant gangs, integration and rising energy bills.
“It’s a sad sign of our times that they can exploit people’s fear, what they say about all these criminals etc.” sighs Larry Nilsson, a pensioner from Malmo (South). “There’s only 1 or 2% of the population that experiences this, most live very safe lives, how can you win an election with that?”
The victory of a right-wing/far-right alliance in Sweden comes less than two weeks before elections in Italy, where a coalition of Fratelli d’Italia by Giorgia Meloni (post-fascist) and Forza Italia by Silvio Berlusconi (liberal right-wing) are given favourites.
“Even in beautiful and democratic Sweden, the leftists are being defeated and sent home! On Sunday, September 25, it’s our turn, we’re going to win!” said Matteo Salvini, President of the Italian League (Anti-Immigration) .
In the Swedish Parliament, the SD will have 73 seats, 11 more than in 2018. The Moderates win 68 seats (-2), the Christian Democrats 19 (-3) and the Liberals 16 (-4).
On the left, the Social Democrats climbed to 107 seats (+7) thanks to their good result of 30.3%, ahead of Left and Center (24 each) and the Greens (18).
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