The far-right Sweden Democrats seized on social tensions caused by welfare cuts – that’s why they’ll win big in the Swedish election

Sweden is famous the world over for its pioneering work on gay rights, the environment, peace building, gender equality and humanitarian work. The far-right Sweden Democrats (SD) party, on the other hand, represent the polar opposite. Sceptical about climate change, pushing traditional gender roles and with a vision of zero immigration or refugees, it looks set to be kingmaker after this Sunday’s Swedish election.

Ulf Kristersson, the likely prime minister in waiting from the conservative Moderate Party, is in a weak position. With his party risking eclipse by SD, he will likely end up being a fig leaf for the far-right upstarts, reliant on their support to keep him in power due to his own ideological dislike of the Social Democrats.

The politically vulnerable Kristersson has tried to cast himself as a maverick in the campaign who can grab Sweden by the scruff of the neck and sort out its problems, but this has failed to stop his party haemorrhaging votes to SD, which is expected to take home about 18 per cent of the vote. Behind his photoshopped election posters though, there are precious few concrete proposals to solve Sweden’s longstanding problems, and relying on the far-right is unlikely to change that.


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