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Why Sweden's far-right, anti-immigrant party made powerful gains

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Though Sweden's economy is growing at more than four times the European Union average, new "economic and social reforms" here mean that many Swedes will not share in this prosperity.

Spontaneous protests in the streets followed last month's election, with thousands of Swedes railing against the SD. All seven of Sweden’s major political parties have vowed to refuse cooperation with the SD. But despite all the hand-wringing among both progressives and mainstream conservatives, the SD has suddenly become a political force to be reckoned with.

The origins of the far-right Sweden Democrats

The SD was founded in 1988 and its current leader, Jimmie Åkesson, joined in 1995, a period when Nazi uniforms were still seen at its meetings. With a determination to enter parliament, the party distanced itself from the Nazi imagery and adopted a public profile that appears considerably closer to the Swedish mainstream, adamantly claiming that it is a “normal party.”

According to SD's website, the party rejects "multiculturalism," attributes increased crime to immigration, calls for an end to "public support for immigrant organizations," adding that "all other activities aimed at promoting foreign cultures and identities in Sweden should be canceled."

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