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More local power for Sweden Democrats

Published söndag 28 december 2014 kl 15.30
Kommunfullmäktige, kommunen, politiker, beslut, Östersundshem
Municipalities are run by a board of top councillors and a general assembly of ordinary representatives. Photo: Pernilla Anth Jacobsson/Sveriges Radio

After the September election Sweden Democrat local councillors have many top opposition posts, but no other party will cooperate with them.

In the southern county of Skåne the Sweden Democrats were the second biggest party in a third of the municipalities.

This means they have full-time and part-time paid politicians in areas including the cities of Malmö, Helsingborg, Treleborg, Svalöv and Landskrona, plus some paid political assistants.

In some areas the parties are cooperating across the political divides in order to deny the Sweden Democrats influence.

The party’s core issue is immigration. It sees its definition of Swedish culture as threatened by its definitions of other cultures, and wants to reduce by 90 percent the amount of people moving to Sweden.

But despite its strong showing locally the party has not managed to influence local immigration policy, says Liberal leader Torkild Strandberg in Landskrona. Despite this city being a Sweden Democrat stronghold the majority of the council agreed to house child refugees.

But southern Sweden Democrat leader Mikael Eskilandersson, who is also in the parliament, says there is informal cooperation, and that now his party has more paid positions it will mean more political work will get done.

Political scientist Anders Sannerstedt says the Sweden Democrats will get more influence, as they now hold the balance of power in even more local councils.

He says to news agency TT that while the other parties are careful to isolate the Sweden Democrats on immigration, they may pay attention to how the party will vote on other less high profile, and even talk to the Sweden Democrats and adjust their position accordingly, to swing its casting votes and thereby beat the other political bloc.

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