'Nazi-inspired' anti-immigration group becomes Sweden's most popular party

Sweden Democrats party are now supported by 25.5 per cent of voters, making them more popular than the Social Democrats and the centre-right Moderates

Alexandra Sims
Saturday 22 August 2015 08:23
 Sweden Democrats party leader Jimmie Akesson
Sweden Democrats party leader Jimmie Akesson

A far-right, anti-immigration party has become Sweden’s most popular party, according to an opinion poll.

The Sweden Democrats are now supported by 25.5 per cent of voters, the YouGov poll for Metro newspaper suggests.

This makes them more popular than the Social Democrats, who are currently in power, with 23.4 per cent of voter support, and the centre-right Moderates with 21 per cent.

Tommy Nilsson, party manager for southern Sweden, said the poll was a “tremendous breakthrough” for the party.

He told the Telegraph: “There’s too much immigration and too many beggars from Eastern Europe. People are starting to realise that this is a serious problem for Sweden.”

The party, which stemmed from the Keep Sweden Swedish and the Swedish Progress parties in the late 1980s, dwindled with little support for several years.

Since the 2010 election, however, when they broke the four-per-cent threshold gain seats in the Swedish parliament, they party has garnered increasing support and won 12.9 per cent of the vote in last September’s general election.

The group's surge in popularity has been largely credited with the growing unease in the country regarding Sweden’s asylum policies.

Sweden has experienced a surge in migration in recent years and takes in more refugees per capita than any other country.

In 2014, Sweden received 8,365 asylum applications per million inhabitants.

Sören Holmberg, from Gothenberg University, told the Metro the result was “not surprising” - adding that there had been a “long tendency” for surges in the right-wing party's support.

Some, however, have questioned the YouGov poll. Andreas Johansson Heinö, from the Timbro think tank, told Expressen newspaper that the results should be queried as YouGov do not use randomly selected people meaning the results could "differ from the population as a whole".

Nicholas Aylott, a political scientist at Södertörn University, has warned the poll will cause establishment parties to panic.

“They will be feeling: we can’t have a situation in which this pariah party is growing without limits,” he said in the Financial Times.

The result comes after thousands of Swedes said they would take part in a protest this month after an advertising campaign for the Sweden Democrats party - described as being racist and demonising beggars and homeless people - went up at one of the city's metro stations.

While the party has sought to distance itself from associations with Nazis, some of its founders were linked with Nazi groups and its secretary said in 2014 that Jews were not Swedish unless they abandoned their ethnic identity.

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