The Sweden general election has shocked the rest of Europe as populism continues to rise throughout the continent. Nearly all the ballots have been counted, and although the two main parties have collected most of the votes, the nationalist Sweden Democrats have performed astonishingly. The SD’s were expected to improve on their result in the last general election, however this was far more significant than expected.
The current governing party, the centre-left coalition are slightly ahead of the centre-right alliance, but are both on around 40%. However, the Sweden Democrats won 18%, up 6% from the last general election. This incredible result has created a problem for the government, as both the alliances have refused to work with the Sweden Democrats. Nonetheless, the leader of the Sweden Democrats has said the party is prepared to negotiate and enter talks with other parties.
Ever since 2016, we have seen an extraordinary rise in populism throughout Europe. It is clear that the working population in the continent are fed up with the current political, economic, and selfish elite. Just 3 months ago, we saw Italy send shockwaves throughout Europe as the right-wing parties received a combined vote of over 65%. A common trend with all these elections, is that the populist parties are against major European Union policies. Brexit was obviously the first significant shock, but aligned with the victory of President Trump, people across the world believe that a new and radical type of governing can be more beneficial than the current consensus.
In Sweden, the centre-right alliance was created to prevent the ongoing Social Democrats and left-wing governance. Although the alliance was created in 2004, the left-wing have still been the successful party in the last 14 years. In comparison to the alliance, the Sweden Democrats are even newer than their coalition. The Sweden Democrats didn’t enter the national parliament until 2010, and has been trying desperately to rebrand itself and move away from previous neo-nazi links. This election has clearly shown their success, as working-class men flooded to the party.
Sweden’s democratic system is proportional representation, and therefore it is always nearly impossible for one party to achieve an outright majority. The most likely outcome will be for there to be a deadlock and the parties will have to enter talks and negotiations, whereby one party may have to switch alliances to create a viable government. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that the Sweden Democrats’ improvement has caused a nightmare for the mainstream elite, as now there seems no obvious route for a majority government.
Swexit seems to be getting closer by the minute, and now with a clear 1 in 6 people supporting a referendum on their membership of the European Union, that figure will only increase. Although Sweden’s economy has performed well in the last 5 years, the migrant crisis and housing were important issues for voters. Populism spreading across Europe, and unless the European Union realise that people want radical change within the institution, then its only a matter of time before total chaos emerges.
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