Sweden Democrats

The Sweden Democrats (Swedish: Sverigedemokraterna [ˈsvæ̂rjɛdɛmʊˌkrɑːtɛɳa] (listen); SD [ˈɛ̂sːdeː] (listen)) is a nationalist and right-wing populist political party in Sweden.[2][4][8] As of 2022, it is the largest member of Sweden's right-wing governing bloc to which it provides confidence and supply, and is the second largest party in the Riksdag.[22][23] The party describes itself as social conservative with a nationalist foundation.[6][24] The party has also been variously characterised by academics, political commentators, and media as national-conservative,[4][2] anti-immigration,[4][10][25] anti-Islam,[26] Eurosceptic,[12][27] and far-right.[18][28] The Sweden Democrats reject the far-right label, saying that it no longer represents the party's political beliefs.[29] Founded in 1988, the Sweden Democrats originally had its roots in Swedish nazism,[30][31][32] as well as white nationalism,[33][34] but began distancing itself from its past during the late 1990s and early 2000s.[4][33] Under the leadership of Jimmie Åkesson since 2005, the SD underwent a process of reform by expelling hardline members and moderating its platform. Today, the Sweden Democrats claim to reject both fascism and Nazism on their platform.[4]

Sweden Democrats
Party chairmanJimmie Åkesson
Party secretaryRichard Jomshof
Vice-party secretaryMattias Bäckström Johansson
Parliamentary group leaderHenrik Vinge
Founded6 February 1988; 34 years ago (1988-02-06)
Preceded bySweden Party
Youth wing
Women's wingSD-Women
Membership (2020) 33,207[1]
Political positionRight-wing[15] to far-right[16]
European affiliationEuropean Conservatives and Reformists Party
European Parliament groupEuropean Conservatives and Reformists[17][18]
Nordic affiliationNordic Freedom
  •   Yellow
  •   Light blue
  •   Navy blue
73 / 349
European Parliament
3 / 21
County Councils[20]
224 / 1,696
Municipal Councils[21]
1,806 / 12,700

The Sweden Democrats oppose current Swedish immigration and integration policies, instead supporting stronger restrictions on immigration. The party supports closer cooperation with Nordic countries, but is against further European integration. The Sweden Democrats are critical of multiculturalism and support having a common national and cultural identity, which they believe improves social cohesion. The party supports the Swedish welfare state but is against providing welfare to people who are not Swedish citizens and permanent residents of Sweden, a policy known as welfare chauvinism. The Sweden Democrats support a mixed market economy combining ideas from the centre-left and centre-right. The party supports same-sex marriage, civil unions for gay couples, and sex reassignment surgery but prefers that children be raised in a traditional nuclear family. The Sweden Democrats support keeping Sweden's nuclear power plants in order to mitigate climate change but argues that other countries should reduce their greenhouse gas emissions instead of Sweden, which the party believes is doing enough to reduce their emissions. The Sweden Democrats support generally increasing minimum sentences for crimes, as well as increasing police resources and personnel. The party supports increasing the number of Swedish Army brigades and supports raising Sweden's defense spending. The Sweden Democrats are a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists group in the European Parliament.

Support for the Sweden Democrats has grown steadily since the 1990s and the party crossed the 4% threshold necessary for parliamentary representation for the first time during the 2010 Swedish general election, polling 5.7% and gaining 20 seats in the Riksdag.[35][36] This increase in popularity has been compared by international media to other similar anti-immigration movements in Europe.[37] The party received increased support in the 2018 Swedish general election, when it polled 17.5% and secured 62 seats in parliament, becoming the third largest party in Sweden.[38][39] The Sweden Democrats were formerly isolated in the Riksdag until the late 2010s, with other parties maintaining a policy of refusing cooperation with them.[40][41] In 2019, the leader of the Christian Democrats, Ebba Busch announced that her party was ready to start negotiations with the Sweden Democrats in the Riksdag,[42] as did Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson. In the 2022 Swedish general election, the party ran as part of a broad right-wing alliance with those two parties and the Liberals, and came second overall with 20.5% of the vote.[23] Following the election and the Tidö Agreement, it was negotiated that SD agreed to support a Moderate Party-led government together with the Christian Democrats and the Liberals,[43][44][45] and is the first time SD holds direct influence over the government.[46][47]

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