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15 Oct, 2022 12:12

Right-wing government assumes power in EU state

The deal to form a three-party coalition includes policy concessions to the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats
Right-wing government assumes power in EU state

Three Swedish parties have struck a deal to form a minority coalition relying on parliamentary support from the right-wing Sweden Democrats. It signifies a major shift for the Scandinavian nation, with the anti-immigration movement having a direct say on policy for the first time.

The Sweden Democrats, while remaining outside government, will have an influence on policies, in particular with regards to immigration and criminal justice, under the deal announced on Friday by Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Moderates party.

“We received a mandate from the Swedish people on election day, we take that very seriously. Change is not only necessary, it is also possible, and the four of us can offer that change,” Kristersson said at a joint press conference with the leaders of two other center-right parties, the Christian Democrats and the Liberals, as well as the Sweden Democrats.

At the September 11 general election, the Sweden Democrats won more than 20% of the vote, becoming the second-largest faction in parliament. The Moderate Party received 19%.

The Moderates’ leader, who is set to be confirmed as prime minister on Monday, revealed that all four parties had agreed to start their collaboration on seven key areas, including crime and migration.

The roadmap plan includes a pledge to reduce the number of asylum approvals to the EU minimum, and to scrap the goal of allocating 1% of GDP for international aid. The coalition also wants to make it easier to expel immigrants found guilty of crimes, and to limit welfare for people arriving from outside the European Union.

“For us, it has been absolutely decisive that a shift in power must be a paradigm shift when it comes to immigration policy,” Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson said.

Among other pledges, the coalition has promised to increase punishments for serious and organized crime, to impose caps and additional requirements for those living on welfare, to reduce taxes for low and medium earners, to build new nuclear reactors, and to draw up a national childbirth plan.

Outgoing Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson admitted earlier this year that integration of migrants in Sweden was “too poor,” and law enforcement “too weak,” following violent riots in numerous cities triggered by an anti-Muslim politician’s Quran-burning publicity stunt. The country’s immigrant population has doubled over the last 20 years, and 65% of Swedes want to impose an annual limit on immigration according to a 2020 survey.

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