Salem Radio Network News Friday, December 9, 2022

World

Swedish Moderates strike coalition deal, Sweden Democrats to back new government

By Anna Ringstrom and Simon Johnson

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – The leader of Sweden’s Moderates party, Ulf Kristersson, said on Friday he had agreed a deal with the Christian Democrats and the Liberals to form a minority coalition government after the right-wing bloc won a majority in last month’s election.

Sweden’s largest right-wing party, the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, will not be part of the government but has agreed to support its formation, marking the first time it will have direct influence on policy.

Kristersson told reporters the government’s mandate from voters meant that “change is not only necessary, change is also possible, and we four parties together can offer that change”.

The new government will cut taxes, start the process of building new nuclear power plants and put a cap on benefits, among other policies.

Kristersson is due to meet the speaker of parliament on Friday and is likely to face a confirmation vote on Monday which he is almost certain to pass.

The Sweden Democrats’ direct role in deciding government policy marks a huge shift in Swedish politics and would have been unthinkable less then a decade ago.

Then, no party would have anything to do with Akesson.

‘PARADIGM SHIFT’

But his message that most of Sweden’s ills are a result of decades of overgenerous immigration policies and a failure to integrate “new Swedes” has struck a chord with voters, making it all but impossible for the right-wing bloc to govern without his party’s support.

“For us in the Sweden Democrats… a change of power also has to mean a paradigm shift regarding immigration and integration policy,” Akesson told the news conference.

The new government will make it hard for new immigrants to get benefits while the overseas aid target of 1% of gross national income will be replaced by a fixed sum.

Police will be able to take tougher measures against criminal gangs and sentences for gang crimes will be longer.

In the election on Sept. 11, the right-wing bloc secured a slim majority, winning 176 seats in the 349-member parliament.

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom and Simon Johnson, editing by Terje Solsvik and Gareth Jones)

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