The Swedish exception undermined by a political formation born of a neo-Nazi party

To analyse. The final count of the votes, three days after the legislative elections on Sunday September 11, confirmed the historic score of the far right, now the second political force in the country behind the Social Democrats who had been in power for eight years. But the boss of the Democrats of Sweden (SD), Jimmie Akesson, had not waited for the final results to proclaim his party's victory on election night, recalling the progress made. When the nationalist formation, created by former fascists in 1988, entered Parliament in 2010, it had won only 5.7% of the vote. Twelve years later, she won 20.6% of the votes.

Gone are the days when the Democrats of Sweden were “a small party that everyone laughed at”, noted Jimmie Akesson. Here they are not only in the lead, ahead of the traditional right-wing formations, but in a position to impose their demands on a future government, led by the conservative Ulf Kristersson, to whom they should serve as a back-up force in Parliament.

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A normalization carried out with a bang in recent years, which has made them go, in record time, from plague victims to potential allies of the right. However, Sweden has long been an exception on the European scene. While nationalist formations entered parliament in most other countries, serving for example as support for the right in Denmark from 2001, the SD had to wait until 2010 to win their first parliamentary seats.

For almost another decade, the sanitary cordon resisted: the other parties, right and left, joined forces to deprive them of any influence in Parliament. A strategy of which a majority of Swedes also took a certain pride, attributing it to their tolerance and their openness to the world, looking with a certain disgust at the Danish neighbors – who returned it well, mocking their naivety.

A calculation on the right

Today, the Swedish exception has fizzled out. It must first be seen as the result of a calculation on the right: in 2018, after another electoral defeat, the Conservatives and the Christian Democrats, since joined by the Liberals, realized that they would never return to power. , unless you rely on the extreme right. Four years earlier, at the end of December 2014, they had reached an agreement with the Social Democrats, the centrists and the Greens, to guarantee that the main party, even in the minority, could govern and see its budget voted on in Parliament. On December 3, the SD departed from tradition by voting in favor of the alternative budget presented by the right, forcing the Social Democrats, despite being in the lead, to implement this budget.

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