election 2010

Many Ready to Block Sweden Democrats Over Party Lines

Responding to a survey done by Swedish Radio News, three out of four local politicians said they would be willing to work together over party lines in order to shut out the xenophobic Sweden Democrats if they gain enough votes to tip the balance of power.

Anneli Hulthén, the Social Democrat head of the city executive board in Gothenburg, said that it is important to keep the Sweden Democrats from influence because they are “a party that stands for values that I absolutely don’t share.”

Karl-Arne Löthgren of the Center Party in Lindesberg holds a similar view. “They are an extreme party,” he told Swedish Radio News. “They are impossible to work with.”

About 73 percent of those who were surveyed, more than 1,100 people, answered “yes” to the question of whether they could imagine forming a majority government over party lines in order to keep the Sweden Democrats out.

But 14 percent answered “no” to the question, including Mikke Schirén, Left Party chairman in the municipality of Gnesta.

“If people vote for the Sweden Democrats, we have to accept that. We can’t just pretend that we have a democracy, because that what would happen if there are attempts to shut them out. And I think that the agreement made in Stockholm is purely frightening when it comes to democracy,” Schirén told Swedish Radio News, referring to a joint decision announced by the Social Democrats and the Moderate Party in the capital last month.

In that announcement, the two opposing parties said that they would be ready to work together to keep the Sweden Democrats from power if they gain enough votes to enter the local political scene.

But the question is still preliminary, and may not become a reality in many local districts. Moderate Party member Malin Petersson from Kalmar thinks that it's too early to even consider such a scenario.

“I think it’s a hypothetical question; first and foremost we’ll have an election campaign and then an election. Then we’ll see what the result is and then after that we can have that discussion.”