SHARE
COPY LINK

POLITICS

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

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.

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

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.

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.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

2022 SWEDISH ELECTION

Sweden’s right-wing parties agree to bring back Norlén as Speaker 

The four parties backing Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson as prime minister on Sunday announced that they had agreed to keep the current Speaker, Andreas Norlén in place, when the role is put to a vote as parliament opens on Monday.

Sweden's right-wing parties agree to bring back Norlén as Speaker 

The parties won a three-seat majority over the bloc led by the incumbent Social Democrats in Sweden’s general election on September 11th, and are currently in the middle of negotiating how they will form Sweden’s next government. 

Sweden’s parliament meets at 11am for the official installation of the 349 MPs for this mandate period. The votes for the Speaker and three Deputy Speakers are the first item on the agenda, after which the parties each select their parliamentary leaders and then vote on who should chair each of the parliamentary committees. 

READ ALSO: What happens next as parliament reopens? 

In a joint press release announcing the decision, the parties also agreed that the Sweden Democrats would be given eight of the 16 chairmanships the bloc will have of parliamentary committees in the next parliament, and that MPs for all four parties would back Julia Kronlid, the Sweden Democrats’ Second Deputy Leader, as the second deputy Speaker, serving under Norlén. 

In the press release, the parties said that Norlén had over the last four years shown that he has “the necessary personal qualities and qualifications which the role requires”. 

The decision to retain Norlén, who presided over the 134 days of talks and parliamentary votes that led to the January Agreement in 2019, was praised by Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson. 

Norlén, she said in a statement, had “managed his responsibilities well over the past four years and been a good representative of Sweden’s Riksdag.” 

The decision to appoint Kronlid was opposed by both the Left Party and the Green Party, who said that she supported tightening abortion legislation, and did not believe in evolution.

The Green Party’s joint leader Märta Stenevi said that her party “did not have confidence in Julia Kronlid”, pointing to an interview she gave in 2014 when she said she did not believe that humans were descended from apes.

The party has proposed its finance spokesperson Janine Alm Ericson as a rival candidate. 

The Left Party said it was planning to vote for the Centre Party’s candidate for the post second deputy Speaker in the hope of blocking Kronlid as a candidate.

SHOW COMMENTS