The deal to form a three-party coalition includes political concessions to the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats
Three Swedish parties have reached an agreement to form a minority coalition that relies on parliamentary support from the right-wing Sweden Democrats. It means a big change for the Scandinavian nation, where the anti-immigration movement has a direct influence on politics for the first time.
The Sweden Democrats, while standing outside the government, will have an influence on politics, especially when it comes to immigration and criminal justice, according to the agreement announced on Friday by Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Moderates.
“We received a mandate from the Swedish people on election day, we take that very seriously. Change is not only necessary, it is also possible, and the four of us can offer that change,” Kristersson said at a joint press conference with leaders of two other centrist parties , the Christian Democrats and the Liberals, as well as the Sweden Democrats.
In the parliamentary election on 11 September, the Moderates received almost 20% of the vote and became the second largest faction in parliament. The Sweden Democrats got 17.5%.
The leader of the Moderates, who is due to be confirmed as prime minister on Monday, revealed that all four parties had agreed to start working together on seven key areas, including crime and migration.
The roadmap includes a promise to reduce the number of asylum approvals to the EU minimum and to drop the target of devoting 1% of GDP to international aid. The coalition also wants to make it easier to deport immigrants found guilty of crimes and to limit welfare for people from countries outside the EU.
– For us, it has been absolutely decisive that a shift in power must be a paradigm shift when it comes to immigration policy, says Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Åkesson.
Among other things, the coalition has promised to toughen penalties for serious and organized crime, to introduce caps and additional requirements for those living on welfare, to lower taxes for low and middle income earners, to build new nuclear reactors and to draw up a national birth plan.
Outgoing Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson admitted earlier this year that the integration of migrants in Sweden was “too bad” and law enforcement “too weak”, after violent riots in many cities sparked by an anti-Muslim politician’s Koran-burning publicity stunt. The country’s immigrant population has doubled in the last 20 years and 65% of Swedes want to introduce an annual limit on immigration according to a 2020 survey.