Sadness written on every corner

The day after the parliamentary elections in Sweden the country is in shock. The foreign media, who are used to portraying the country as some kind of blond paradise with fashion conscious healthy people seems equally puzzled. BBC NEWS even has the outcome of the elections as their top European story. If EU citizens previously shook their heads at France and their Duracell rabbit like president’s trashing of Roma settlements, many eyebrows were lifted when Sweden, the traditionally immigration friendly country in the north, also pushed on the immigration breaks. In some districts voters in the south of the country (where Sweden’s best footballer ever, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, comes from) gave the far right Sverigedemokraterna over ten percent of the vote and thus caused quite a shock among many people in the country. Below are some comments I’ve made on Facebook to some of my friend from abroad who asked me about what just happened in what what truly was a disappointing result:

‘Bad news. Pretty much for everyone. None of the two major coalitions got their own majority and it is the first time that an anti-immigration party made it into the parliament. Risk is that a party that wants to decrease immigration with 90% will play a role in the center right government. The practical implications might not be that great in the end (impossible to tell before anything is decided) but it is certainly a gloomy day for people priding themselves on living in a country famous for its open stance on immigration.’

‘I think the whole country was in denial, the polls were pointing to this for the past couple of weeks but I think the media and the established parties hoped that the problem would just go away on its own somehow. It will be interesting to see what happens now. I seem to be followed by far-right party gains, first the Dutch elections and now this, not good!’

‘I think the problem was that the media and established parties said that ‘you are crazy if you vote for Sverigedemokraterna’ instead of actually taking a debate with them. They should have been self-critical concerning how we handle immigration while also making clear the important benefits from it. The voter, mainly in the south, obviously see great problems and people don’t like it when ‘the media’ or established parties tell people what to do. They could play the underdog perspective and did it really well. Hopefully this will lead to a debate where people really stand up for the tolerance that Sweden was famous for before.’

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