Sweden: what to expect from the new government?

Ulf Kristersson, leader of the liberal-conservative Moderate Party, became Sweden's new prime minister on Monday. His conservative coalition plans to work closely with the Sweden Democrats (SD). Migration and fighting crime are the main issues on which there is common ground among the parties. Commentators look on with concern.

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Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Attack on one fifth of the population

The new government is turning migrants into scapegoats, rails Dagens Nyheter:

“Listen to Ulf Kristersson, listen to what he says. He constantly stresses that migration is a burden, that it is destroying Sweden, that it is the cause of all kinds of social problems. A fifth of the population is supposed to wake up every morning and ask themselves: Is it me who the prime minister is talking about, me who should never have come, me against whom the imminent repatriation campaigns are directed? This is an attack from the highest political level, an attack that will destroy people.”

Aftonbladet (SE) /

The powerless will be more oppressed

As one of its measures for combating gang crime, the new government wants to introduce stop-and-search zones. Wealthy neighbourhoods won't be affected, Aftonbladet criticises:

“After all, we know that it's above all drug consumption in these neighbourhoods that finances gang violence and the 'war' in the migrant suburbs. ... The police state only exists for certain Swedes. ... This is how we are building a Sweden in which the inequalities are growing - whether in the classroom, on the labour market or before the law. The repression and watered-down legal security are directed against those who have no voice in the social debate - against the powerless. ... And in the controlled areas, everyone will be affected - even if the majority just want to work and live decent lives.”

Göteborgs-Posten (SE) /

Much work to be done

Göteborgs-Posten welcomes the change of government:

“The fact that there are kindergartens in Sweden where Swedish is no longer the majority language shows how ethnicised segregation and exclusion have become. ... At the same time, gang crime is claiming new victims, with 2022 being the deadliest year yet. ... This is the reality that the right-wing parties and the liberals are trying to address. Immigration must become sustainable if the exclusion that limits children's chances in life is to be overcome. The criminal justice authorities need powerful tools to stop gang crime. ... This is liberalism with two feet on the ground.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Selling their souls for power

Kai Strittmatter, Scandinavia correspondent for the Süddeutsche Zeitung, finds it outrageous that the conservatives are pretending that the Sweden Democrats are a normal party now:

“As a reminder, the SD is the party in whose ranks more than 200 functionaries were identified immediately before the election as having attracted attention through racism or participation in neo-Nazi events. ... Driven by their hunger for power, the conservatives and the liberals have now given the far right unprecedented influence. It's a case of 'give and take', said the liberal party leader defending his position on Monday. That's how it is: you take the long-sought ministerial posts and give away a piece of your soul, and before you know it you've also given away the very soul of democracy.”

Expressen (SE) /

Not second fiddle to the Sweden Democrats

Expressen counters the idea that the coalition is dancing to the Sweden Democrats' tune:

“In migration and crime policy, the SD has been able to get its way on many points - as expected. However, in this area there is a great deal of overlap with the Moderates. ... And at the same time there are numerous issues on which the SD has not been able to get its way, such as a stop to all asylum migration from non-European countries. ... Also the idea that the Liberals have become second fiddle in the course of their cooperation with the SD is questionable. No other party has campaigned so vehemently for nuclear power, the rearmament of the army and Swedish membership of Nato. All this it is now in a position to implement. ... Don't believe the claim that the new right-wing cooperation is all the work of the Sweden Democrats.”