Mattias Karlsson. Foto: Maja Suslin / TT.
Acting leader of the Sweden Democrats Mattias Karlsson. Photo: Maja Suslin / TT.

Centre-right politicians call for immigration debate

To counteract the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, the nation's other political parties must start a discussion on "a responsible policy on refugees," a group of former parliamentarians writes.

The four authors, from the Christian Democrat and Center parties, said politicians should not adopt the views of the Sweden Democrats, who want to see immigration levels slashed by some 90 percent in Sweden.

Rather, they argued that other parties should put for proposals on the issue to counterbalance the Sweden Democrats.

"To categorically ignore the Sweden Democrats' presence in parliament is to give them a populist free ticket instead of fighting their xenophobia," the author wrote in newspaper Dagens Nyheter on Friday. "We believe that the parties should be able to converse with the Sweden Democrats."

In neighboring Norway and Denmark, anti-immigrant parties have been active in politics for some time and have far more influence on national immigration policy.

But Sweden is unlikely to head down that path, according to political scientist Andreas Johansson Heinö, since the Sweden Democrats have their roots in neo-Nazi and white power movements and not populist policies.

"The Sweden Democrats have a different story than parties like (Norway's) Progress Party and the Danish People's Party have," Heinö told Radio Sweden.

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