Sweden: this conservative who backs the extreme right

Sweden: this conservative who backs the extreme right

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson recognized the defeat of the left and the victory of the right-wing and far-right bloc in parliamentary elections on Wednesday (14 September) after an almost full count of the votes in a very close vote.

The SPD leader then announced her resignation, which will be officially presented on Thursday.

The bloc was made up of three right-wing parties and the far-right Democrats Sweden (SD) has “a small majority, but still a majority,” she said during a press conference.

equilibrists

The leader of the conservative party Ulf Kristersson must therefore be the first Swedish head of government after the elections on Sunday to rely on the extreme right. The former gymnast has managed the acrobatics of uniting the straight lines, at the risk of losing his balance.

Small, round glasses and a feather-light physique, a beaming smile, “Uffe” posed on his posters with an omnipresent companion: his hunting dog Winston, a Welsh Springer Spaniel, which he received as a consolation gift after losing the 2018 elections.

At the time, the leader of the Moderates – as his party was called – swore not to enter into talks with the nationalist and anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats (SD). His attempt to regain power from the Social Democratic Left then failed consistently.

Faustian pact

Four years later, he gets his revenge, at the expense of an unprecedented rapprochement that began with the SD in late 2019. According to its supporters, the only way to lose the left is to make a Faustian pact with its opponents. “My side of politics,” he says now, to put into perspective the divide between three parties on the traditional right and the nationalists who are supposed to follow the left to power.

Together they control 176 seats in parliament, near-complete results announced on Wednesday show. That is one seat more than the absolute majority.

Hard right campaign

The studied economist and Tintin fan is a big supporter of social cuts, married and father of three daughters adopted from China. Ulf Kristersson is recognized as an excellent speaker and ran a far-right campaign addressing the serious problems faced by criminal gangs in Sweden, although critics have dubbed him “SD light”. “A Sweden that doesn’t work has become the new normal,” he lamented during his election campaign, promising to restore “order” in the country.

The right-wing leader has also pledged to cut runaway energy prices after what analysts have dubbed “electricity election”.

But he had to face doubts about his strategy, especially since the SD robbed the moderates of the second Swedish party place on Sunday, which they had held for 40 years. By putting them at the gates of power, “Kristersson could only go down in history as the locksmith of the SD,” benchmark daily Dagens Nyheter quipped ahead of the election.

Long political career

Born in Lund, southern Sweden, in 1963, young Ulf took his first steps in politics in high school, only to head the national section of young moderates a few years later. He rose quickly and entered Parliament as a deputy in 1991, then was elected in 1994.

When not sitting in the Riksdag, the parliament, he aspires to a career as a communicator or manager in a structure close to employers or an adoption organization.

His wife Birgitta Ed, who gave up her career in public relations when her husband took over the party leadership in 2017, recently trained as a pastor with a view to soon joining the Church of Sweden.

His election victory on Sunday took the ax from the political disappearance that would have meant another failure. “The moderates’ view of a party leader is somewhat similar to that of a CEO of a private company: as long as things are going well, he can stay, but if things are going badly, he leaves the same day,” says Torbjörn Nilsson, history professor at Södertörn University and specialist in Swedish political history, told AFP.

AFP

Reference: www.challenges.fr

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