Political editor: Sweden Democrat exclusion may be counterproductive

3:50 min

On Thursday evening, all parliamentary party leaders except the Sweden Democrats’ Jimmie Åkesson are gathering to discuss what policy Sweden should push for in the EU when it comes to refugee reception.

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven invited his colleagues in parliament but chose to exclude Åkesson.

Heidi Avellan, political editor of Sydsvenskan and Helsingborgs Dagblad – a newspaper in southern Sweden – told Radio Sweden that the move will likely strengthen the Sweden Democrats’ often repeated claim of being “the only true opposition party”.

“Unfortunately, that is the case,” said Avellan. “One would think that they should, really, take part in this discussion since they are part of parliament and this meeting is all about a commitment that Sweden has taken on to accept asylum seekers.”

“As it is, one in five Swedes supports the Sweden Democrats and that support may grow or remain on the same level, partly because of this question,” Avellan said, referring to the decision to exclude Åkesson from the Thursday evening meeting.

However, Avellan also suggested that it is uncertain the Sweden Democrats would have participated in the meeting, even if Jimmie Åkesson had been invited.