Just a few hours after a poll-of-polls suggested that the Sweden Democrats would receive more than 18% of the vote if an election was held today, a confident Åkesson said, “We have come a long way – but we're going even further. We’re about to show how we’re able to run the country.
“Sure, it's a long way to the election, but it is obvious that we need to start planning to be prepared to take real responsibility for the country. We should be the establishment. We should dominate the public debate.”
Åkesson also told the audience of 2,000 people that Sweden’s welfare policies were to blame for the deaths of refugees trying to flee war and persecution in the Middle East and Africa.
“What is it that causes people to risk their own and their children's lives to come here? I dare say that it is down to other parties’ lax policies on welfare.”
Åkesson called for a referendum on immigration “as soon as possible.”
His chances of obtaining a vote are however slim: parliament must vote on whether to hold a referendum, and only six have been held since 1922.
A Yougov poll published on August 20 credited the Sweden Democrats with 25.2 percent of voter sympathy, making it the biggest party for the first time in a poll, ahead of Prime Minister Stefan Lofven's Social Democrats with 23.4 percent.
However, another poll published Saturday and conducted by the Novus institute, credited the Sweden Democrats with 18.6 percent and the Social Democrats with 25.8 percent.
All seven other parties in parliament refuse to take on the Sweden Democrats as allies, and have rejected their anti-immigration stance.
For them, immigrants are welcome workers for a country with an ageing population.