The anti-EU, anti-immigration Sweden Democrats have soared in the first polls released since the Stockholm terror attack in which four people were killed by a jihadist who had hijacked a beer truck.
The anti-immigrant party has overtaken the center-right Moderates and are now either the most popular, or second most popular party in the Nordic country, several polls showed.
After polling 27.2 per cent in a survey conducted by Sentio, the party marks a new record, Nyheteridag reported. The latest poll indicates that they could well be on their way to become the largest political party in Sweden.
After receiving a record 160 000 migrants in 2015, support for the Sweden Democrats has grown as Swedes start to discover the difficulties in integrating foreign cultures into their own.
The party received 19.2 percent support in a poll published by Novus for Swedish Television, up from 18.5 percent a month ago, and up from the 13 percent they polled in the general election in 2014. In a second poll in daily Dagens Nyheter they got 18 percent, up from 17 percent.
Both polls showed that the party was in second place for the first time behind the Social Democrats, who form the minority government with the Green Party, but raw data from Sentio shows there may be even more support, after surveying some 1 001 people between 7-10 April, in which 29.6 per cent of respondents said they would vote for the Sweden Democrats if there were an election held today.
“If we become the second largest party, or even the biggest party, it will of course be harder for the other parties to leave us out in the cold,” party secretary Richard Jomshof, told Swedish Television. Currently the four-party center-right Alliance with the Centre and Liberal parties do not want to cooperate with the Sweden Democrats.
The biggest losers in the poll were the Centre Party who lost 2.3 per cent, taking them below 10 per cent. Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, leading the Social Democrats, decried his open border policy immediately after the terror attack, echoing policy advocated by the Sweden Democrats. Support for the Social Democrats, the biggest party in the coalition, was around 27 percent, down from 31 percent in 2014’s election.
The surge in voter support for the Sweden Democrats means that it would now be impossible for either the center-left or the center-right to form a majority government without the them. Center-right Moderate party leader Anna Kinberg Batra said recently she was prepared to work with the Sweden Democrats, while most other politicians have shunned them.
The Green Party is polling close to the 4 percent threshold for seats in parliament, Reuters reported.
The leader of the Sweden Democrats, Jimmie Åkesson, 25, said because the jihadist was a failed asylum seeker, “it could be a massive scandal. We have seen how the number of internal border controls has fallen very sharply since the debate on the internal border raged a few years ago”.
In an opinion piece for the newspaper Expressen, Åkesson demanded that there be political consequences for the attack. Åkesson has been the leader of the Sweden Democrats since 2005 when he became the youngest leader in the party’s history.
In an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, Åkesson said the problems of mass migration in Sweden were real, “and not exaggerated” or “understated”.
The BBC has labelled the Sweden Democrats as a “neo-Nazi” party in November 2015. The party dismissed the allegations from the BBC telling Breitbart London: “The media is desperately trying to blame us for arsons in an effort to even further try to put the lid on the immigration debate.”
Mattias Karlsson, party leader in the Swedish Parliament, meanwhile accused Brussels of maintaining an “undemocratic” union. Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Karlsson predicted the end of the EU. “We’ve seen an increase in resistance against the European Union and its undemocratic structure in central Europe, in France, in Scandinavia and many other countries,” he said. “I think the European Union is like a zombie, it’s actually dead but still walking. But in the end, it will show that this kind of structure is not sustainable. I think it will fall.”
Karlsson said Europe needs to respect sovereignty, not unelected officials. “We need to have close cooperation on many issues in Europe,” he said. “We have a common interest in fighting organised crime, terrorism, environmental threats and we also have a common interest in trading with each other. The rules surrounding that should be made up between the countries and democratically elected governments.”
As a percentage of total revenues, Sweden Democrats rely heavily on private contributions, an advantage in a hostile political environment in which most other parties rely on the state.