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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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2022 SWEDISH ELECTION

Centre Party ‘ready to join Social Democrat-led government’

Sweden's Centre Party would consider minister roles in a Social Democrat-led government, the party's leader, Annie Lööf, said on Monday, firmly positioning her party in the left bloc.

Centre Party 'ready to join Social Democrat-led government'

In an interview with newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN), Lööf said that Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson was her clear choice as prime ministerial candidate in the election. 

“I believe Magdalena Andersson has the leadership needed,” she said, citing the current prime minister’s “noticeably better openness for cooperation,” than her rival, Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson. 

Lööf underlined the fact that her support was conditional on “policy anchored in the centre”, and that her party would not support a government that included the Left Party, and would not engage in “organised budget cooperation” with the Left Party. 

When DN asked if this also meant the Centre would be open to governmental positions, Lööf said that the party “would like to be in government with the Social Democrats,” but that this was “presuming policy leans towards the centre”.

Lööf’s decision to set out her position was welcomed by Andersson, who said that “Sweden and Swedish politics needs fewer locked positions and not more”. 

But it was met with criticism from both inside her party, from the opposition, and from the Left Party. 

“We are putting ourselves forward in this election as an independent liberal party and should support which alternative can carry out the most Centre Party politics,” the party’s youth wing wrote on Twitter. “A centre-right liberal party should always hold the door open for several government alternatives.” 

Nooshi Dadgostar, leader of the Left Party, said the decision was “strange”. 

“She seems to be asking for our support to sit in a government without being willing to cooperate with us,” she said. “In that way, it’s strange. the Social Democrats and the Centre Party do not have a majority on their own.” 

In the interview, Lööf was highly critical of the direction the Moderate Party, with whom the Centre Party ruled for eight years, had taken. 

 

“Unfortunately, we see that the Moderates, Christian Democrats and the Liberal Party have all drifted to the right and deepened their cooperation with the Sweden Democrats,” she said. “This is extremely unfortunate. It is the first time since the arrival of democracy that the right-wing parties are working together with a xenophobic party and standing for election together.” 

However, even though she said Kristersson would have to cut his party’s ties to the Sweden Democrat for her to support him as a prime ministerial candidate, she said she did not rule out working together with her previous allies on the other side of the political divide.

“We are open to continued collaboration over bloc boundaries,” she said. “But that’s conditional on the future prime minister being receptive to where the political majority is located.”

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