Sweden held national elections today, and like the United States in 2020, counting the votes has been halted for the night, with about 250,00o votes still outstanding—a significant number in Sweden though probably not enough to alter the outcome, which right now appears to favor four center-right parties over the center-left parties by a razor-close 176-173 margin in Sweden’s parliament, the Riksdag.
The trouble with Sweden is that it is one of those parliamentary systems that has eight parties contesting for seats on a basis of proportional (rather than first-past-the-post) representation, so no party has achieved an outright majority for decades, requiring endless coalition governments. Perhaps coalition government produce the same kind of Aristotelian moderation that our two-party system is said to produce with its harmonizing aspects, but I am not so sure.
The surge in support for right-leaning parties, especially the leader among the four, the “Sweden Democrats” (not to be confused with the left-leaning and current ruling “Social Democrats”) reflects the rise in discontent with the effects of mass immigration of non-European populations. The relatively new party has gone from about 5 percent support a decade ago to about 22 percent today.
The Financial Times explains:
In the past decade, Sweden has gone from having one of the lowest per capita rates of deadly shootings in Europe to the highest, according to data from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention. This year is on track to be a record for fatal shootings with a total of 44 deaths by mid-August, not far off the previous peak of 47 in 2020.
Law and order, once dismissed as a gang-on-gang phenomenon confined to the immigrant-heavy poor suburbs, is among the top priorities for Swedish voters, according to polling companies. . .
The nationalist Sweden Democrats who appear to be benefiting from the focus on crime, having long warned that the country’s open immigration policies up until 2015 would lead to growing violence. The rise in shootings has been linked to turf wars between drug gangs founded by immigrants. . .
“For many years, we [the Sweden Democrats] were silenced. It wasn’t taken seriously by politicians or the media,” he [Jimmie Åkesson, Sweden Democrat leader] said, adding there were growing signs of parallel societies and even local versions of sharia law.
One clue to the scene is the media coverage that describes the Sweden Democrats as “nationalists,” though some of their critics call them Nazis.
Sounds like what Democrats say about Republicans here! Funny thing—one of Sweden’s left-leaning parties has old Communist Party ties, though the media never mention that.
The pre-election polls, incidentally, showed the center-left coalition holding on to power. In other words, Sweden’s pollsters have the same left-leaning error as American pollsters. One other thing: the right-leaning parties draw a considerable amount of their support from younger Swedes under age 30. Good to see the youth of Sweden want a future. Sometime perhaps our younger voters will get a clue.
As usual, Henry Olsen is on it.
P.S. Right-leaning nationalist parties are leading the polls ahead of elections in Italy being held in two weeks.