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Live election debate. Still from SVT

Marine Le Pen welcomes rise of Sweden Democrats

Marine Le Pen, leader of the French National Rally - formerly known as the National Front - welcomed the rise of the Sweden Democrats.

Published: September 10, 2018, 8:46 am

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    Le Pen tweeted: “Yet another bad night ahead for the European Union. The democratic revolution in Europe is moving forward!”

    The biggest winners are the Sweden Democrats compared with their performance in the previous elections in 2014, with the party seeing a huge surge. Jimmie Akesson, leader of the party, noted: “We strengthen our kingmaker role . . . we see that we will have an immense influence over what happens in Sweden in the coming weeks, months, years. Nobody can take that away from us.”

    But EU surrogates were worried about the party’s good performance. “This is a European trend: the big centre parties lose somewhat and we see the extremes go up. It is worrying,” Carl Bildt, a former Swedish prime minister and foreign minister, told the Financial Times.

    Known as the Alliance, the four- party group of centrists could unseat the pro-immigration Social Democrats, Green and Left parties – if they decide to join forces with the Sweden Democrats.

    According to Statistics Sweden, some 18.5 percent of Sweden’s population of 10 million was born abroad.

    Akesson has meanwhile complained about the Swedish public broadcaster SVT’s bias. “It is a scandal that public service acts as they now do and take an active political position,” he said in the wake of a television debate after Eva Lanndahl – the responsible election watcher – distanced herself from a statement by Akesson during a live broadcast.

    SVT had removed Akesson’s statement in the debate against Annie Lööf on immigrants and jobs, calling it “grossly generalising”.

    In the final debate, Akesson had made a very clear statement about integration. He said that Sweden meets new arrivals on their own terms, customs and their own languages instead of requiring assimilation. “That’s why they do not fit here,” he explained.

    His party announced a boycott against SVT’s election observation because of Lanndahl’s biased attitude. After their announcement, Lanndahl was fired from the public broadcaster and is no longer involved in election monitoring.

    “It’s time to take responsibility and talk to the Sweden Democrats,” Sweden Democrats parliamentary group leader Mattias Karlsson told Swedish public broadcaster SVT.

    On Monday morning, the pro-immigration bloc appeared to be holding hold 144 of 349 seats in parliament, one seat more than the Alliance, with votes in 99.8 percent of districts counted. It is well short of the 175 needed for a majority.

    For the moment 30 000 votes separate the two blocs. But some 200 000 votes from Swedes living abroad, could tip the balance. These votes will only be counted by Wednesday.

    “We need to close the borders. It’s what people want – even the Moderates and the Social Democrats. But they refuse to talk about it as an option and we do,” Peter Wallmark, chairman of the Sweden Democrats in Stockholm, told the Telegraph.

    “At the moment they are saying they won’t form a coalition with us but that’s because we’re in the middle of a campaign,” he said. “I think we could form a coalition with the Moderates. They won’t admit that yet though.

    He added: “There is a serious problem with Islamic fundamentalists, and we need to address that.”

    But the pro-immigration camp has refused to admit that the alarming crime levels in Sweden could be linked to immigration.

    Lefist journalist Sidsel Overgaard reported for the US National Public Radio: “Sweden does not track the ethnicity of perpetrators, so making a connection between immigration and crime is a largely speculative exercise.”

    The anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats, have nothing to offer except “hatred”, said embattled Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.

    He has defied calls from the centre-right opposition to step down, insisting that he would instead cling to power in trying to cobble together a coalition.

    He made a plea to parties on the centre-right to work together with the pro-immigration parties to stop the rising influence of the Sweden Democrats.

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