Swedish opposition leader: ‘Why I’m prepared to work with the Sweden Democrats’

Swedish opposition leader: 'Why I'm prepared to work with the Sweden Democrats'
Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson speaking with the Christian Democrats' Ebba Busch, while the Sweden Democrats' Jimmie Åkesson looks on in the background. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
The de facto leader of Sweden's right-wing opposition, who three years ago vowed never to work with the Sweden Democrats, has said the anti-immigration party has become more 'serious' in its politics.

Speaking on public broadcaster SVT's programme 30 minuter, the leader of the conservative Moderates, Ulf Kristersson, said: “I think the Sweden Democrats' rhetoric has changed a lot over recent years. They have branched out politically and take part much more seriously in parliamentary work.”

In particular, he said they had been “constructive” during work on the pandemic, law and order, migration and some aspects of energy politics. 

Kristersson said his party currently has no intention to form a coalition with the Sweden Democrats. But it's the latest step in warming relations towards the far-right party, after the two parties' leaders had their first meeting last year.

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It stands in 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.”

In the 2018 election, neither of the two main blocs (one including the Moderates and three other right-of-centre parties, the other including the governing centre-left coalition) won enough votes to govern alone. In order for either coalition to govern, they needed other parties to either support them in a parliamentary vote or at least offer passive support by abstaining. 

This led to a split in the centre-right coalition, after the Moderates and the Christian Democrats were prepared to accept passive support from the Sweden Democrats. Their two coalition partners, the Centre and Liberal parties were not willing to be part of a government relying on the Sweden Democrats, so instead offered passive support to the centre-left coalition which is now in power.


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