Left leader condemns attack on far-right

Left Party leader Lars Ohly has condemned an attack on a local politician representing the far-right Sweden Democrats in Malmö on Friday, while the party on Monday suspended a rally in Gothenburg due to a counter-demonstration.

Left leader condemns attack on far-right
Left activists' counter demonstration at a Sweden Democrat rally in Gothenburg

According to Malmö police two masked men forced their way into David von Arnold Antoni’s apartment in Malmö on Friday night.

“They cut a swastika in my forehead,” Antoni said according to the local Sydsvenskan daily.

Malmö police have confirmed only that the local Sweden Democrat politician was held down by one man while the other cut him.

“We have decided to put a lid on the investigation,” said Lars-Håkan Lindholm at Malmö police to news agency TT, confirming that the incident has been classified as aggravated assault, aggravated theft and illegal threats.

Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson published an open letter on Monday, calling on national party leaders to condemn the attack and the Left Party’s Lars Ohly duly obliged on Monday afternoon.

“I can’t describe the repulsion I feel for this. I oppose the Sweden Democrats’ politics by all the democratic means I have at my disposal, but there is a clear line. Threats and violence must never occur and that is something that we in the Left Party are very clear on,” he said.

Elsewhere on Monday, the Sweden Democrats were obliged to postpone a rally on Kungsportsplatsen in Gothenburg when they were outnumbered by a crowd of counter-demonstrators.

While the stand-off between police and counter-demonstrators from the Gothenburg network against racism passed off peacefully, the Sweden Democrats were forced to acquiesce.

“We are doing this to show that there is resistance to their racism,” Stefan Berg of the Socialist Justice Party (Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna – RS), told local daily Göteborgs-Posten.

While there has been no analysis made of any incidents of harassment and violence during the 2010 election campaign, a study conducted after the EU parliamentary elections in 2009 showed that autonomous left groups such as the Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) or the Revolutionary Front stood behind the majority of any violence.


Far-right Sweden Democrats top opinion poll in historic shift

The Sweden Democrats party has overtaken the ruling Social Democrats to top an opinion poll for the first time in Sweden, which represents a new landmark for the far-right party.

Far-right Sweden Democrats top opinion poll in historic shift
Jimmie Åkesson has over the past 15 years transformed the Sweden Democrats from a fringe neo-Nazi group. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
According to the latest opinion poll by the Swedish polling company Demoskop, the far-right party — which has its roots in 1990s neo-Nazi groups — now has the support of 24 percent of voters. This compares to just 22.2 percent for the ruling Social Democrats.  
“I'm not surprised,” the party's leader Jimmie Åkesson said after the result was published in the Aftonbladet newspaper on Friday.
“I've long argued we would be the biggest party sooner or later. We've been talking constructively over gang criminality, escalating insecurity, and a migration policy that doesn't work for so many years.” 
This is the first time the Sweden Democrats have been the largest party in any of the five polls carried out for Sweden's main newspapers and broadcasters. 
Lena Rådström Baastad, party secretary for the Social Democrats, blamed the recent spate of high profile shootings and explosions in Swedish cities, as well as the difficult compromises the party had had to make in its January Agreement with the Centre and Liberal Parties. 
“It's a damned tough situation right now, so I'm not surprised when you consider what we've got against us, with gang murders, shootings and explosions. It's us, as a the ruling party, who has to pay the price.” 
Åkesson said that the poll cemented his party's position as the true opposition to the Social Democrat party which has dominated Swedish politics since the 1930s.  
“In the old days it was the Moderates and [former PM Fredrik] Reinfeldt who were challenging them, now it's us,” he said. “It's a welcome shift in Swedish politics.” 
Demoskop's head of opinion research Peter Santesson said that the Moderate Party had lost 1.7 percentage points, shedding support both to the Sweden Democrats and to the Christian Democrats. 
Bloc politics is important in Sweden's system of proportional representation, so even if the Sweden Democrats manage to emerge as the largest party in the 2022 general election, they may still not be able to enter government. 
Instead of combining the parties into the former four-party Alliance group of Moderates, Christian Democrats, Centre Party and Liberals, Demoskop has now started measuring the combined vote of an emerging conservative bloc. 
The Moderates, Sweden Democrats and Christian Democrats now have a combined 49.4 percent, putting them well ahead of the left-liberal bloc of Social Democrats, Green Party, Centre Party and Liberal Party, and close to having a majority. 
But the Moderate Party is split over whether to collaborate with the Sweden Democrats, so it is unclear whether its members would support joining the populists in a coalition government. 
If the new conservative bloc wins a majority, however, the Moderates and the Christian Democrats could instead seek to form a coalition government with the support of the Sweden Democrats, as they tried but failed to do after the 2018 election. 
If the three conservative parties fell just short a majority, the Social Democrats could then conceivably remain in power with the tacit support of the former communist Left Party.
Meeting their demands while also retaining the support of the pro-free market Centre and Liberal parties would however involve a challenging balancing act.