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2022 SWEDISH ELECTION

Swedish populists call for crime-hit areas to be demolished

The populist Sweden Democrats party has called for the most severely crime-hit areas in Sweden to be demolished, and their populations moved elsewhere in a policy drawn from Denmark's controversial 'ghetto plan'.

Swedish populists call for crime-hit areas to be demolished
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson (right) announced the populist party's proposals to combat so-called "parallel societies". Photo: Stefan Jerrevång/TT

The party said it wanted to first use urban planning strategies to “build away” crime-hit areas, but that if that fails, it believed the worst areas should be demolished, as has happened to apartment blocks in cities in Denmark.

“We need to look at demolitions as an alternative,” the party’s leader, Jimmie Åkesson, said at a press conference on Tuesday to launch measures to combat the so-called “parallel society”. 

He said that Sweden was “plagued by escalating serious crime”, and that no other problem faced by society so severely diminished Swedes’ freedom. 

Other measures include bringing in so-called ‘search zones’ in areas badly affected by crime, or “culturally burdened”, another measure taken from Denmark. 

Search zones in Denmark have empowered the police to stop and search people on the street, on their bicycles, or in their cars, without the officer needing to secure a search warrant, or even having reasonable suspicion.

Danish police can then check people’s possessions, search their bags, and even carry out a body search. 

The Sweden Democrats said that police in visitation zones would also be able to raid flats and apartments in certain areas without needing to secure the normal permits. 

Swedish authorities can then mount “dawn raids” on addresses where they have suspicion to believe that more people are living than are registered as doing so. Anyone then found to be living in Sweden without a residency permit would then be immediately deported. 

The party also said that it wanted foreign citizens with “coordination numbers” or samordningsnummer to have biometric data such as their fingerprints and irises collected in the same way as those who receive national identity cards do. 

“This is a question of locking up and in some cases deporting criminals who are a threat to society,” Åkesson said. 

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ALMEDALEN 2022

Liberal leader: ‘I don’t like the extremes of either left or right’

The affable new leader of Sweden's Liberal Party claimed in his speech at the Almedalen festival that his party would act "an anchor in the middle" that would protect aid spending, asylum rights, gender equality, LGBT issues, and public service broadcasting in a coming right-wing government.

Liberal leader: 'I don't like the extremes of either left or right'

In just three months as party leader Johan Pehrson has taken poll support for his party from 2.5 percent of the vote to well over the parliament’s four percent threshold, which, if the Green Party fails to get over the spar, might be enough to win the right-wing parties September’s election. 

“I’m a social liberal, an Örebro man, a lawyer, a businessman, a dad, and a bonus-dad (stepdad),” Pehrson said. “I don’t like the extremes, either on the right or on the left.” 

While he spoke about gang crime and segregation just as the Moderates’ leader Ulf Kristersson, and the Christian Democrats’ Ebba Busch had done, and proposed longer sentences for repeat offenders, in general his picture of what needed to be done came from a much more leftwing position. 

He said that criminals needed to be treated with both “steel fist and Lovikka [woolen] mittens”, both “forcefully and with warmth”. 

“All the youth who are at risk of going on a criminal path should be put in the classroom. Away from the grip of the gangs and into the magnetic power of learning”. 

“The best teachers should be attracted to work in the most socially vulnerable areas,” he added. “Make sure social workers are there at the police station. It’s not rocket science to know that cooperation needs to be really good when the problems are this big.” 

Just like Ebba Busch, Pehrson suffered problems with his teleprompter, but while she handled it quite coolly, Pehrson took a more maverick approach, sipping nervously from his water bottle, and mumbling a few disconnected sentences, and then bellowing at the top of his voice, “We will win the battle against social exclusion together! Or not at all! Let’s take the fight!”

He also made jokes, greeting applause at one point with the words “more applause, applause for me, please,” than 

The morning after Pehrson’s speech, Svenska Dagbladet reported that the Moderate Party had decided that the Liberals would not be part of their government, citing a source from the Sweden Democrats.

The Expressen newspaper than published a private message to Tobias Billström, the Moderates’ group party leader, from Gunnar Strömmer, the party secretary, saying he was going to have words with SD “that they shouldn’t bloody well go and put words in our party leader’s mouth”. 

Pehrson on the other hand is clear that he wants to both be in the Moderates’ next government, and also for his party to have the education ministry. 

“This new government needs a new liberal education minister,” he said. 

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