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‘I’m Not a Racist, But …’: Sweden Faces Historic Upset in Election

Swexit T-shirts PHOTO: Amanda Billner/Bloomberg

By Amanda Billner | 14 August 2018

  • Nationalist party could emerge as biggest after September vote
  • Party supporters slam immigration as danger to welfare state

BLOOMBERG — Viking rock music and whole pigs roasting on spits drew thousands of Swedes to a festival hosted by nationalists poised to deliver their country’s biggest political upheaval in a century.

The Sweden Democrats have been led since 2005 by a clean-cut and bespectacled man, Jimmie Akesson. He’s gentrified a party that traces its roots back to the country’s neo-Nazi, white supremacist fringe. Some polls now show the group may become the biggest in Sweden’s parliament after general elections on Sept. 9. Such an outcome would end 100 years of Social Democratic dominance.

In Akesson’s hometown of Solvesborg, large crowds cheered as he laid out the party’s vision for drastic cuts in immigration. His agenda is part of a global wave of nationalist and anti-establishment sentiment that has followed the 2008 financial crisis, with the election of Donald Trump in the U.S. and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union standing out as the starkest examples of the new world order. […]

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