On Sunday, 7.3 million voters in Sweden will head to the polls to elect a new successor to Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven of Social Democrat-Green minority coalition.
Opinion polls show that his centre-left party is facing a major challenge from right-wing Sweden Democrats which is trailing behind the ruling party by only 20%.
Heated campaigns have been revolving around integration and immigration issues. The far-right party have zoned into the 2015 immigration crisis in Europe wherein Sweden opened its doors to a record number of migrants.
Sweden Democrats have linked the increasing incidents of violent crimes in neighborhoods with high concentration of immigrants to the government’s open door policies.
The far-right Sweden Democrats (SD) were able to capitalize on the immigration crisis and maintained their focus on the threat posed by the current government’s asylum laws to the country’s welfare and security.
SD which originated from the Neo-Nazi movement has been keen on cleaning up their image in recent years. The party is hoping to for a favorable outcome in Sunday’s legislative elections.
Swedish Democrats leader, Jimmie Akesson said, “We know that we are underestimated (in the polls) as we have been historically, I therefore don’t exclude the possibility of us becoming the largest party.”
Although the economy of Sweden is strong, citizens are unhappy with the loss of security and cultural heritage.
Border controls have been tightened already but even Prime Minister Stefan Lofven admitted that the country can no longer cope with the influx.
In 2015 alone, 163,000 migrants were granted asylum in Sweden—the largest per capita among EU countries.
The election is closely observed globally to see how Sweden’s largest center-left Social Democrat party can stand against the Sweden Democrats. In countries which have received large shares of migrants like Germany, Austria and Italy, anti-immigrant parties ruled elections since 2015. With the rising popularity of the far-right party with neo-Nazi roots, the ruling party is expected to take a beating.