Nationalist gains as Moderates dip in polls

The anti-immigration Sweden Democrat party gained support during last week’s national political conference Almedalen, while backing for the country’s main centre-right opposition group fell.

Nationalist gains as Moderates dip in polls
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Akesson at Almedalen. Photo TT

The poll, for which more than 1250 people were asked who they would choose if there was a parliamentary election last week, suggests that the nationalist Sweden Democrats are now supported by 18.7 percent of voters.

This represents a jump of 3.0 percent on the last survey carried out by the same pollsters, Demoskop, for Sweden’s newspaper Expressen a month ago.

Sweden’s largest opposition party the Moderates – who led the previous government – saw its support drop by 3.0 points over the same period.

The poll also suggests a slight dip in support for Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s Social Democrat party, but very small gains for their coalition partner, the Greens.

The smallest party in the Swedish parliament, the centre right Christian Democrats saw its support rise by 0.5 percent.

Demoskop interviewed a random section of people across the country between July 1st to July 7th as Sweden’s political conference week, Almedalen, took place on the island of Gotland. All of Sweden’s parties were given one day to dominate the agenda, culminating in a keynote speech on the stage in Almedalen park, in the medieval city of Visby.

More than 20,000 political campaigners, journalists, councillors, lobbyists and business people attended the event, which was covered in detail by The Local.

The political festival saw the nationalist Sweden Democrats attempt to broaden their agenda by focusing on children’s policies as well as cutting immigration.

Meanwhile new Moderate Party leader Anna Kinberg Batra and Sweden’s youngest political leader Ebba Busch Thor, who heads the Christian Democrats both made their debut Almedalen speeches.

Previous polls have already suggested that the Sweden Democrats have been continuing to grow their fan base since scoring 12.9 percent in the country’s last general election in 2014, but few surveys have suggested a proportion of supporters as high as Demoskop’s estimate of 18.7 percent.


Sweden Democrats threatens government crisis over biofuels obligation

The far-right Sweden Democrats are threatening to push Sweden's three-party ruling into a political crisis as they fail to reach agreement over how drastically to cut the country's biofuels obligation, a key part in its plan to reduce emissions.

Sweden Democrats threatens government crisis over biofuels obligation

The party is claiming that a pledge in the Tidö Agreement calling for the biofuels obligation, or reduktionsplikt, to be cut to the “lowest EU level”, should mean that the amount of biofuels that must be blended into petrol and diesel and Sweden should be cut to close to zero, rather than to about half the current share, as suggested by ongoing EU negotiations. 

“We are being tough in the negotiations because of the power we have as the biggest party in this bloc,” Oscar Sjöstedt, the party’s finance spokesperson told TV4. “There is going to be a change at the end of the year that is going to be pretty significant and substantial, that I’m 99.9 percent certain about, otherwise we will have a government crisis.” 

The Liberal Party is pushing for a much less severe reduction, perhaps to a little more than half the current level, where 30.5 percent of all petrol and diesel must be biofuel. 

“We have signed up to a temporary reduction in the biofuels obligation, and it’s clear that that is what we are going to do, but zero is not an alternative for us,” the Liberal Party’s leader Johan Pehrson told TV4.

The decision to reduce the amount of biofuel in the mix at Swedish pumps has made it much more difficult for Sweden to meet its targets for emissions reductions, putting pressure on Pehrson’s colleague, Environment Minister Romina Pourmokhtari. 

Next Wednesday, Pourmokhtari will have to defend the extent to which her government’s policies have pushed Sweden away from being able to meet its 2045 target of net zero emissions when the The Swedish Climate Policy Council reports on the country’s progress towards its target.