STOCKHOLM – Sweden’s top three parties are running almost level four months ahead of a general election, with the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats polling a record 20 percent, according to poll in daily Dagens Nyheter.
Support for the Sweden Democrats has surged since they first won seats in parliament in 2010, with the party on track to record its best-ever election result after getting 13 percent in 2014.
A surge in asylum numbers in 2015, when Sweden took in 160,000 refugees, has heightened worries about a creaking welfare state and that crime is increasing, boosting the party, which wants to close Sweden’s doors and crack down on gangs.
The ISPOS poll put the Sweden Democrats hot on the heels of the governing Social Democrats, who got 24 percent, and the biggest opposition party, the centre-right Moderates, who scored 22 percent.
At the last election, the centre-left Social Democrats got 31 percent and the Moderates 23.3 percent.
The current government is a minority coalition of the Social Democrats and Greens. They are supported in parliament by the Left Party. Together, the parties polled 37 percent.
The Moderates, Centre, Christian Democrats and Liberals cooperate and will fight the election as a group. They polled 39 percent.
Neither bloc can form a majority government without the Sweden Democrats and both have ruled out a deal with the party, which has its roots in the neo-Nazi fringe.
The general election will be held on Sept. 9.
-Thomson Reuters Foundation