Cheers at the Sweden Democrat election rally as they are predicted to be third-biggest party. Photo: Anders Wiklund /TT

Will the Sweden Democrats stay isolated?

"We're discussing with the other parties"
3:14 min

None of the other parties want to work with the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, although the party claims they are already having secret talks.

Richard Jomshof, member of parliament for the Sweden Democrats, says to Radio Sweden the other parties only meet them below the radar, "in the basement", in secret.

The Sweden Democrats are a party that has roots in the white power movement, and ahead of the election had a stream of its politicians resigning, after being uncovered as anonymously making racist statements online. One was even photographed wearing a swastika armband.

The other parties have chosen to isolate the Sweden Democrats, despite many Swedes sympathising with its stance on drastically cutting immigration.

Now this party, led by Jimmie Åkesson, is on 13 per cent. So how long can it stay isolated?

One clue as to what will happen is to look at areas of the country where the Sweden Democrats have been strong for a while.

Michael Rosenberg is a Sweden Democrat councillor in Helsingborg, as well as having a post as national election coordinator.

In this far southern city there are about 130,000 people living in the municipality.

Michael Rosenberg's local party branch is likely to get 15 per cent of the vote, up a third from last election. They already hold the balance of power.

He says to Radio Sweden they have suceeded in getting policies they want, by siding with one side or the other. For example, keeping the subsidy paid to parents who stay home with their children (vårdnadsbidrag). Or getting rid of split-shifts for health care workers. Or siding with the Moderates to support new businesses starting in the area.

On the national level the Sweden Democrats have voted more with the centre-right.

Outgoing Prime Minister Reinfeldt made it a key policy to isolate the Sweden Democrats, but it remains to ne seen whether his successor will keep the same line, and enforce it in all local areas.

Going north to Stockholm, it's a very different place, politically - here the Sweden Democrats have only just now got a few seats in city hall. Jakob Hagnell is one of those who will be taking a place.

How will he react to sitting at the table with the new Feminist councillors, who call the Sweden Democrats racists?

He says they are ready to reach out, even to their political opposites, and he expects there will be some give-and-take.

The Sweden Democrats want to repeat the success of the Danish People's Party, another anti-immigration movement. But even this Danish party considers the Sweden Democrats, with their far-right past, to be too extreme for close co-operation.

It remains to be seen whether the other parties in Sweden itself decide that now is the time to start talking to Jimmie Åkesson's party - this time outside the basement.

Loukas Christodoulou
loukas.christodoulou@sverigesradio.se
twitter.com/loukas_rs

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