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First meeting between Sweden Democrats and Moderate Party leaders

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First meeting between Sweden Democrats and Moderate Party leaders
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson, left, shakes hands with Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson during a parliamentary debate. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT
14:59 CET+01:00
The leader of Sweden's centre-right Moderate Party has had a meeting with Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Åkesson, despite saying only a year ago that he would never work with the party.

In a post on his Facebook page, Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson said he met Åkesson "in order to discuss a number of important issues for the country, where our parties have similar views".

According to Kristersson, the pair had a "constructive conversation" related to the areas of crime, energy supply, and immigration.

He said that he and Åkesson discussed the recent wave of gang-related murders in Sweden, but also the role that nuclear energy could play in Sweden in the future.

In his Facebook post, the Moderate leader reiterated a statement he made at the party's annual conference in October, when he said he would do all he could to find broad support in parliament "for a better policy", and would not wait until the next election.

Åkesson wrote in a statement that the meeting was "rewarding, constructive, and bodes well for future collaboration in a new political landscape".

The September 2019 election was followed by months of deadlock after neither of the traditional blocs reached a clear majority, and disagreements within the centre-right bloc on whether they would accept Sweden Democrat support led to the disintegration of the former four-party Alliance.

"The Moderates and Sweden Democrats are different parties, with different ideologies, and we think differently on several issues. However, we treat each other with respect, and on several important matters we think the same way. On these issues, I would, of course, want us to be able to cooperate in Parliament," Kristersson wrote on Wednesday.

This is quite a contrast with statements he made previously on the idea of collaboration with the anti-immigration party.

As recently as January 2018, Kristersson said: "My values are not the Sweden Democrats'. I will not work together with them, speak with them, govern with them."

The leader of the Christian Democrats, which has traditionally been allied with the Moderate Party, has previously held one-on-one meetings with the Sweden Democrats leader. 

The news of the Moderate-Sweden Democrat meeting comes after a new opinion poll suggested that the latter party had reached a record high, with support around 22.6 percent, which would make them the second largest party.

The same survey showed that a potential conservative bloc made up of the Moderates, Christian Democrats and Sweden Democrats would be almost equal to the bloc involved in the current governing deal plus the Left Party, whose support is required for them to have the numbers to govern. The former grouping gets 47.5 percent and the latter 50.9 percent.

 
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