The success of far-right populists across Europe continued in Sweden with a surge in support for the Sweden Democrats who took in 17.6 percent of the vote, coming third against the left and right blocs.
Both blocs have refused to form a coalition with them but with a motion of confidence due for Swedish Prime Minister and Swedish Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven, Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson believes Löfven will have to negotiate with him.
Akesson focused his election campaign firmly on migration and law and order. He is also in favour of holding a referendum to leave the EU.
The incumbent government, a coalition of the Social Democrats and the Green Party with support from the Left Party, saw its overall vote fall to 40.6%, although the Left Party gained 7 seats.
Over 40% of voters are believed to have voted for a different party than in 2014, suggesting widespread dissatisfaction with both the government and centre-right opposition.
The Social Democrats vote share of 28.4 percent is the lowest in a century. Compare this to the Sweden Democrats who have steadily built support since their foundation 30 years ago. It managed a breakthrough in 2010, getting 5.7 percent, entering parliament for the first time.
Much like the populist right elsewhere they have substantially “rebranded” with their original symbol of a burning torch now a blue and yellow daisy.
Akesson has gone someway to purge neo-Nazis from the organisation but has also stated that former Nazis who can “credibly demonstrate that you have changed and developed your values” are welcome to join the Party.
The organisation officially banned the swastika and the wearing of Nazi uniforms in 1996 but even during this election a city council candidate posted on Facebook to say that Hitler wanted to “remove the Jewish plague from Europe in a humane way”.
Despite this, Sweden Democrats sit in the same group in the European Parliament as the Tories! With the Tory leader in the European Parliament, Ashley Fox, championing their recent attempts to clean up their image.