Sweden’s ‘Moderate’ Far Right Has a Nazi Problem

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This op-ed by Bridge Initiative Senior Research Fellow Farid Hafez originally appeared in Haaretz

Sweden, a strong welfare state, has traditionally been a society where opposition to racism is instinctively considered part of decent conduct. Boasting a high rate of political participation (with an 86 percent turnout rate for the last national elections), the Scandinavian state has, in contrast to other western European states, long kept the far right on the fringes of the political system.

But this has changed.

For the first time after the end of World War II, the anti-immigrant, radical right Sweden Democrats passed the four percent threshold and entered the Swedish parliament in 2010. Subsequently, in 2014, it received a respectable 12.9 % of the vote to become the third largest political party in parliament after the Social Democrats and the Moderate Party. Currently, it holds 42 seats in the national parliament.

In the lead up to general elections on September 9th, most polls suggest the Sweden Democrats will increase their share of the vote and even become Sweden’s second largest party. More alarmist voices argue that they may become the critical political kingmakers in the next parliament.

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