who are the main candidates for the post of prime minister?

who are the main candidates for the post of prime minister?

Sweden votes on Sunday September 11 after a campaign with an unprecedented scenario, dominated by crime and inflation. Outgoing Prime Minister, Social Democrat Magdalena Andersson, hopes to stay in power by relying on a “red-green” package », for a third term of four years in a row for the left. But the right is in ambush, ready to ally with the extreme right to gain power.

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Never until these legislative elections had the traditional Swedish right considered governing with the direct or indirect support of the Democrats of Sweden (SD). Long pariah, the nationalist and anti-immigration party is on the way according to the polls to grab an unprecedented second place, and to become the first formation of a new right-wing bloc.

Magdalena Andersson, the pragmatic left

Swedish Prime Minister and leader of the Social Democrats, Magdalena Andersson, in Rinkeby, Sweden, September 10, 2022.

The first female head of government in one of the most feminist countries in the world, Magdalena Andersson, 55, took office in November with the aim of rallying her camp ahead of the elections, and leading her country’s historic candidacy to NATO. Exhausted after seven years in government under the leadership of his predecessor Stefan Löfven, the Social Democrats have found their colours.

The former swimming champion, married and mother of two, came to power with the nickname of “bulldozer”, allusions to her direct, even brittle ways, when she was finance minister (2014-2021), which confuse sometimes in a country concerned with consensus.

Hesitant at first, she changed course by choosing to ask for Sweden’s membership in NATO a few weeks after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, even if it meant breaking with the historical line of the social democrats and two centuries later. of Swedish military non-alignment.

She chose for slogan “Our Sweden can do better”, between promise and right of inventory. Her defense of the welfare state, a social democratic totem, is classic, but she continued to harden the party line on immigration. “Integration Failed”, she said after riots between young immigrants and the police in April. In the event of defeat, she will have served the shortest term at the head of a government since 1936.

On the international scene, his thorniest dossier has been negotiating with Turkey, which is threatening to block Sweden’s accession to NATO by accusing the Nordic country of being a refuge for “terrorists” Kurds.

Ulf Kristersson, the conservative ready to ally himself with the far right

Ulf Kristersson, the leader of the Moderates (right), in Stockholm, September 9, 2022.

He hopes to win the post of Prime Minister at the cost of an unprecedented rapprochement with the far right: Ulf Kristersson, 58, must show that the new historic alliance is paying off for his camp. Small round glasses and a featherweight physique, the leader of the conservative Moderates party is on his second attempt to become head of government.

After the previous very tight elections of 2018, this former gymnast had failed in his acrobatic attempt to secure the support of both the nationalists of the Democrats of Sweden (SD) and the small center-right parties, historical allies of the Moderates. But a year later, he said he was ready for the first time to discuss with the SD, and the rapprochement has since deepened. His detractors, such as the leader of the Center party Annie Lööf, accuse him of a Faustian pact, emphasizing his past promises never to collaborate with them.

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“My side of politics”, he says now to qualify the coupling between the parties of the traditional right and the nationalists. A second setback to become prime minister is likely to cost him his place as party leader.

Jimmie Akesson, the nationalist who policed ​​the far right

Jimmie Akesson, leader of the far-right SD party, in Stockholm, September 10, 2022.

In seventeen years at the head of the Democrats of Sweden (SD), Jimmie (“Yimmie”in the Swedish pronunciation) Akesson has transformed the far-right party from pariah status on the Swedish political landscape to an indispensable heavyweight on the right to govern after Sunday’s election.

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Impeccably combed hair but willingly dropping the tie, this 43-year-old bespectacled dark-haired man with a solid build and a well-trimmed beard cultivates the image of the normal Swede. A supporter of the normalization of the far right, he transformed a party heir to a neo-Nazi group, the organization Bevara Sverige Svensk (“Let’s keep Sweden Swedish”), into a nationalist party sporting a flower logo. Gone are the controversial formulas, as when Akesson called Muslims “greatest foreign threat since World War II”or the proposal to leave the European Union.

His party is siphoning off conservative voters, but also social democrats, especially among working-class men, and could for the first time form a coalition in parliament with the traditional right.

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The World with AFP

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