Sweden is stuck in a political stalemate: none of the country’s biggest parties achieved an overall parliamentary majority in recent general elections. The kingmaker may turn out to be the Sweden Democrats Party, which won 20 seats in the legislature after campaigning on a pledge to reduce immigration to the country by 90%. The surprise outcome suggests that Muslim immigration, long a taboo issue for Sweden’s politically correct mainstream parties, may end up receiving far more scrutiny in the future.

The September 19 vote left Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s incumbent four-party liberal-conservative Alliance coalition with 172 seats, three seats short of a majority in the 349-seat Riksdag. At the same time, the leftwing opposition – in which the Green Party and the Left Party joined the dominant Social Democrats – won just 154 seats. The Social Democrats took just 30.9% of the overall vote, their worst showing since 1914.

The balance of power now lies with the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats, the only party to oppose the radically liberal immigration policy that the seven other parties support. Reinfeldt’s Alliance and the Social Democratic-led opposition both say they will co-operate with each other rather than the Sweden Democrats, which blames immigrants for the disintegration of the country’s cherished cradle-to-grave welfare system. But the two big blocs are at odds over a wide range of economic and social policies, making their long-term cooperation unlikely.

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October 1, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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