By Ali Emami

Sweden's 2018 Election Is the Most Determining Election in Europe: expert

November 28, 2017

TEHRAN _ Sweden's national election is scheduled to take place on September 9, 2018 (next year). This election is going to be held while the right wing extremists in Sweden, like other parts of Europe, have been able to raise their votes among Swedes. Their popularity is mostly due to the immigration crisis. In this regard, we have had an interview with Dr. Hanif Ghaffari, the Scandinavia's region analyst:

Q: As you know, Swedish national elections are scheduled to take place in September next year. How do you assess the importance of these elections?

A: It may be supposed that I'm exaggerating, but undoubtedly the 2018 general election in Sweden will be the most determining election in Europe next year. The Swedish Democratic Party (Right-wing extremists) currently holds 49 seats in the Swedish parliament (Riksdagen). This party has been able to increase its votes in Europe by making use of immigration and security crises.

 The survey conducted by YouGov in March shows that the Swedish Democratic Party led by Jimmie Åkesson has become the first party in Sweden by winning 23.9 percent of the vote. In other words, the Swedish Democratic Party's vote has almost doubled by 2014. Undoubtedly, the Swedish Democratic Party's victory in the next general election is the worst possible news for the European Union. This victory could be the start of the weakening of Swedish multicultural society and the emergence of continuous social crises in the country. We must not forget that Sweden is a model of a successful multicultural society utilizing the structure of the welfare state. However, the victory of the Swedish Democratic Party will target both the structure of the multicultural society and the welfare state structure.

On the other hand, European radicals are now looking at the Swedish elections in 2018. In the course of the electoral campaigns in Germany and Austria, the right-wing extremists could gain eye-catching success. The Alternative for Germany (AfD) was able to find its way to the German parliament (Bundestag) with winning about 13% of the votes.

 In Austria, the Freedom Party (FPÖ), due to the conflict between the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) and the people Party ( ÖVP), was able to win a great number of the votes and is currently on the verge of being in Austria's coalition government. Under such circumstances, the elections of 2018 in Sweden are of particular importance in the political, social and economic equations of Europe. Right-wing extremist movements in Europe all welcome the presence of the Swedish Democratic Party in this country's government.

Q: Are traditional parties in Sweden able to block the presence of the Swedish Democratic Party in power? And what should other Swedish parties do in this regard?

A: Definitely. The Social Democratic Party and the Moderates should unite with each other and prevent the Swedish Democratic Party from finding way to the future government of Sweden. Social democrats and moderates should not repeat the mistakes made by the traditional parties in Austria. Until the next general election in September next year, the two main parties in Sweden have to inform the country's public opinion about the effects of the presence of Jamie Axon and his entourage in power. Stefan Löfven, the Leader of Social Democratic Party and the current Swedish Prime Minister, along with Ulf Kristersson, the leader of the Moderate Party, should hold meetings in this regard. Today, the traditional parties in Sweden should not only be thinking about their own political destiny, but also about the political destiny of their country and even of the European Union.

If the traditional parties are united in Sweden, the Swedish Democratic Party can't play a role in the formation of the government, even if it wins the election. Therefore, the two Social-Democratic and moderate parties should consider the major concerns during the electoral competitions, which is restraining the right-wing extremism and the Democratic Party in Sweden.

Q: You believe that the presence of the Swedish Democratic Party in power is a threat to Sweden and the European Union. Please explain more about this party for our readers.

A: The Swedish Democratic Party was founded in February 1988. In a short time, the party has been able to attract lots of opponents in Swedish political equations. The same issue led to the Swedish Democratic Party's presence in the Swedish parliament in 2010. The party has lots of fans among strong and energetic youth and has a totally nationalist approach. They identify themselves as conservative socialists.
Many of Sweden internal affairs analysts believe that the country's Democratic Party is an extremist right-wing party. The severe nationalist and anti-immigration approach of this party created unwillingness in other Sweden's political parties for making a coalition with it. Therefore, this party is not present in any of the left or right coalitions in Sweden.

Many of Sweden analysts refer to the Swedish Democratic Party as the "radical nationalist" party. Perhaps this metaphor can clearly indicate the political and national approach of the Democratic Party of Sweden.
Swedish Democratic Party strongly criticizes the immigration policy in the country. The party believes that Swedish citizens are paying the cost of immigrants' living, and therefore immigration to Sweden should be stopped. They favor the integration of Sweden based on their nationalist approach and believe that the existence of immigrants with different cultures is not useful for the Swedish society and the principle of immigration leads to social, cultural, racial and religious tensions in this country.

The Swedish Democratic Party calls for strong internal solidarity between Swedes (Swedish citizens). Therefore, the Swedish Democratic Party doesn't welcome refugees at all. It even calls for supporting those immigrants who voluntarily intend to return to their original countries. The Democratic Party believes that the "world" is naturally multicultural, but a single country must not be multi-cultural!

In the field of foreign policy, the Swedish Democratic Party, based on its nationalist approach, opposes convergence with the European Union and subsequently joining the Eurozone. The party demands the Sweden government to reconsider its membership in the European Union. The Swedish Democratic Party opposes issues such as Turkey's accession to the European Union. This party has a lot of ties with other extremist right-wing parties in Europe such as the French National Front headed by Marin Le Pen.

Q: You mentioned that the presence of the Swedish Democratic Party in the government affects the structure of the welfare state in Sweden. Please explain more about this.

A: The populist approach of the Swedish Democratic Party undoubtedly undermines the foundations of the welfare state in Sweden. Many economists and sociologists have repeatedly argued that "a populist approach to the welfare state" is the worst strike on it and can lead to weakening or even death of the welfare state. For example, the Democratic Party calls for a reduction in the income tax for the elderly, as well as an increase in mortgage and housing subsidies. The party calls for additional allocations for municipalities to help elderly people improve their life quality. Although this populist approach can lead to an increase in the votes of the Swedish Democratic Party, especially among the elderly and their families, it should not be forgotten that such an approach attacks and damages the principles of the welfare state in Sweden, which are based on balance of rational economic and distribution of incomes and taxes. If the Swedish Democratic Party joins the country's executive branch, we will face a problem called "welfare populism" in this country. Therefore, the presence of the Swedish Democratic Party, not only disrupts the social equations in this country, but also leads to a crisis in the welfare state.

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