Swedish PM resigns as far-right party with neo-Nazi origins set to enter coalition government
Swedish prime minister Magdalena Andersson resigned after accepting defeat in the general election.
Andersson’s Social Democratic Party won the largest number of seats in Sunday’s (11 September) general election.
The Sweden Democrats, an anti-immigration party with neo-Nazi origins, came second outright with 73 seats. However, its right-wing bloc outgunned the current centre-left coalition with 176 seats to 173 (with 99 per cent of votes counted), it was confirmed Wednesday (14 September).
Andersson announced her resignation in a news conference on Wednesday (14 September).
She accepted defeat, despite the official result remaining inconclusive until a recount of the votes, saying: “In parliament, they have a one or two seat advantage. It’s a thin majority, but it’s a majority.” She is expected to formally resign on Thursday (15 September).
During Andersson’s time as Sweden’s first female prime minister, she progressed the rights of LGBTQ+ Swedes and appointed the country’s first ever trans minister in 2021.
Sweden’s new coalition government, formed to push out the left-wing bloc in a last-ditch effort to get into power, will be made up of the far-right Sweden Democrats and the right to centre-right wing Moderate Party, Christian Democrats, and Liberals.
Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson is expected to lead the coalition, ahead of controversial head of the Sweden Democrats, Jimmie Åkesson.
Kristersson made a triumphant speech after 99 per cent of the votes were counted, saying: “I will now start the work of forming a new government that can get things done, a government for all of Sweden and all citizens.
“There is a big frustration in society, a fear of violence, concern about the economy,” he said.
“The world is very uncertain and the political polarisation has become far too big also in Sweden. Therefore my message is that I want to unite, not divide.”
Sewden Democrats has fascist roots, having derived from a neo-Nazi movement in the 1990s.
The party has made an attempt to revamp its image with a party leader who, as political science professor Jonas Hinnfors put it, wants “to give the impression that he’s an ordinary guy… who grills sausages, talks normally, and goes on charter trips to the Canary Islands.”
Despite a change to the window-dressing, the party has incredibly divisive, anti-immigration policies that vow to “keep Sweden Swedish” in response to rising resentment towards immigrants in the country.
During his time as party leader, Akesson has said that Muslims were “the biggest foreign threat since World War II,” and advocated for a “Swexit” vote to leave the European Union – while later dropping his advocacy for it.