Sweden is country that is considered to be the best in the world at pretty much everything; freedom, tolerance, happiness etc.
However, it's high time the world started looking beyond the country's status of being among the world's most liberal, tolerant and happiest nations because of an alarming development.
On Sept. 9, Sweden will hold general election and a far-right movement with roots in neo-Nazism is gaining ground.
Almost a week before the election, a Skop institute poll found the ruling party, Social Democrats (SD), had 23.8 per cent of support, which was down from 31 per cent in the 2014 election. SD came in as a close second with 20 per cent, which was an increase from 13 per cent in 2014.
For those aware of the SD's dark history, the numbers are troubling.
The movement was formed in the mid-80s by, "by veterans of Swedish pro-Nazi and fascist groups," according to Peter Wolodarski, the editor-in-chief of Dagens Nyheter, a Swedish daily newspaper. Some of SD's members were also reportedly associated with a now-disbanded violent anti-democratic Nazi party the National Socialist Front.
It wasn't until 2010 that the political party got its first mainstream break when it entered the Riksdag with six percent of the vote. In the next election, the party more than doubled its support, as stated above, to 13 per cent.
It's important to note the "rise" in SD's support had already begun since 2010. However, the boost came at least four years ago.
It is widely believed the rise in SD's popularity came with the rise in anti-immigrant sentiment, which has engulfed Europe since 2015, the year when the refugee crisis broke out across the continent.
The anti-immigration political climate has been fueled by gang violence. A June Reuters report states "dozens of people have been killed over the past two years by gangs mostly from run-down suburbs dominated by immigrants."
Predictably, SD, led by Jimmie Akesson, has been cashing on in this anti-immigration political climate by actively campaigning to freeze all immigration. In fact, Akesson has very clearly stated his party is anti-immigration.
In a similar display of bigotry, one of the SD's top municipal candidates in the coming election shared a song on Facebook with the chorus “Swedes are white and the country is ours" in August.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: REUTERS