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Loophole lets neo-Nazis onto Swedish councils

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Loophole lets neo-Nazis onto Swedish councils
Members of the Party of the Swedes march in central Stockholm in August 2014. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT
17:09 CEST+02:00
Two neo-Nazis who received only a handful of votes have won seats on Swedish councils thanks to a kink in the country's election laws.

Neo-Nazi parties failed to make a mark in this month's municipal elections, but far-right extremists from the Party of the Swedes and the Swedish Resistance Movement were able to exploit a quirk in the system to sneak into local governments in Ludvika and Surahammar, Expo magazine reports.

In both cases, the neo-Nazis crept into the corridors of local power at the expense of the nationalist Sweden Democrats, whose unprecedented success left a gap for opportunists.

In Ludvika, the Sweden Democrats won seven seats but only fielded five candidates on their open list for the municipal election. Their failure to close the list meant voters were free to suggest alternative candidates.

Eighteen people wrote the name of Pär Öberg from the Swedish Resistance Movement. This was enough to get him elected, much to the annoyance of Sweden Democrat Benny Rosengren.

“It was an open list and they’ve used subterfuge to get in. All I know about him is the little I’ve read. None of us know him,” Rosengren told news agency TT, adding:

“He’ll be an independent; we don’t take in these kinds of idiots.”

The Party of the Swedes slunk in through the back door in Surahammar, where Carolus Motander got enough written votes on a Sweden Democrat list to claim a seat.

The Swedish Resistance Movement is also next in line for a seat in Borlänge should any Sweden Democrats step down, Expo reports.

The Sweden Democrats in Ludvika said they would hold a meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss what had happened. 

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