Political Economy



Åkesson will put immigration aside to try to break isolation

Sunday, 17 November 2013
The leader of the Sweden Democrats Jimmie Åkesson is prepared to tone down the party's focus on immigration, to avoid being isolated ahead of next year's election, according to an interview in the daily Svenska Dagbladet. Police to investigate SD politicians (16 Nov 2013)

Åkesson says he is reaching out a hand to the two men hoping to be prime minister after the election, the Conservative Fredrik Reinfeldt and the Social Democrat Stefan Löfven. "If you have a problem discussing immigration policy, we can talk about something else. If there is a difficult parliamentary situation after the election, we have a joint responsibility to solve it," says Åkesson.

Asked if the party will not demand influence regarding policies on immigration, in exchange for support of a certain prime minister, Åkesson replies: "if the positions are stuck and this is the reason given, there could be an opening for long-term dialogue if we start by talking about something else. I think everyone will benefit from that. But of course I will not drop the immigration issues, as they are the most important ones for our voters".

The Sweden Democrats got 5.7 percent of the votes in the election 2010, but are hoping to become the third biggest party in parliament after next September. Åkesson says they want to be in an "absolute position to tip the balance of power". In a Sifo poll on Sunday, 9 percent of those polled said they would vote for SD.

So far, the other parties have been clear they want nothing to do with the Sweden Democrats. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has warned voters with the words "to those who care about Sweden: don't vote for the Sweden Democrats. Don't release the hatred".

Åkesson says Reinfeldt and Löfven would be "irresponsible" if they continue ignoring the Sweden Democrats. "Both these gentlemen want to be prime minister. If I were their situation I wouldn't care about the small-minded pride that there is towards us," he says in the interview with SVD.

Political commentator Jonas Thunberg from the left-wing weekly Flamman told Swedish Radio's Godmorgon Världen on Sunday that he believes Åkesson is hoping to get a situation similar to that in Norway, where the ultra-right-wing Fremskridspartiet has entered into a government coalition with the conservative party Höjre. But Thunberg doubts that the Swedish parties to the right of the centre are prepared to do what the Conservatives have done in Norway.
This report comes from Radio Sweden

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