While it may appear that most European countries have taken a unified stance on the Russia-Ukraine war, there’s a palpable ideological divide owing to a conflict that is older than the said war. The results of the recently held elections in Sweden are making this quite apparent. In a country that gave the world a self-proclaimed climate activist of international repute by the name of Greta Thunberg, climate issues haven’t received importance at the State level. The ‘Progressive Liberal’ identity that the country enjoys on the international stage, too, is changing. The left-leaning Swedish Social Democrats often referred to as The Social Democrats, has had to step down after being in power for 8 years. The Swedish parliament has elected Ulf Kristersson as the Prime Minister. Kristersson’s party, ‘Christian Moderates’ has had to take the support of Sweden Democrats (SD) – a party that is known for its staunch nationalistic and anti-Muslim ideology. Although Sweden Democrats may have given support from the outside, Kristersson has had to accept its demands such as taking a hard stance with regard to accepting Muslim refugees and granting additional rights to the police. Sweden’s administrative picture is continually leaning towards the far right.
Hungary to Sweden !
Sweden is known as a country aligned with progressive ideology. In ‘progressive’ France, the ‘National Rally’ party which is similar to Sweden Democrats, has emerged as the largest opposition party, in the last two elections. Furthermore, although French President Emmanuel Macron is left-leaning, he has had to make strong State policies that are pro-nationalism and against Jihadi terrorism. Sweden, too, is going to make quick headway in a similar direction. In Italy too, the Brothers of Italy party – known for its anti-Muslim refugee stance, and one that promises to preserve the individual religious and cultural legacy – has come to power. In countries like Poland and Hungary, parties with staunch cultural and nationalistic ideologies have long been in power. The Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán is at the forefront of these matters. In developed countries like Finland and Netherlands, the dominant opposition parties are of the far-right ideology. Overall, in Europe, the present political climate appears to be more conducive to conservative ideology than reformism. According to a report published by the Washington-based, internationally acclaimed ‘Pew Research Centre’ earlier this month, right-wing parties are increasingly receiving public support in countries like Hungary, France, Spain, Belgium and Sweden and Europe as a whole.
In this context, it is crucial to study the history and the rise of the Sweden Democrats. The party was incepted in 1988. Within a few years, the party distanced itself from the Nazi ideology that it was based on during its inception. The party started taking giant strides, making notable achievements from 2010, and won over 20% of the votes in the elections held this year to become the second-largest party. This party is a strong supporter of ‘welfare chauvinism’ and ‘white nationalism’, and is antagonistic to multiculturalism. In the past few years, this ideology has been gaining ground in the European masses and politics. In the recently concluded polls, too, the Sweden Democrats made this point explicitly clear. According to Euronews, the Sweden Democrats, in their election campaign, stressed on points such as, ‘Muslim refugees being at the forefront of the rising violence in Sweden’, and ‘Islam being responsible for Sweden’s social and economic problems’. The Swedish people also responded strongly in favour of these points and one out of five citizens voted for the Sweden Democrats.
Around the year 2015-2016, millions of people fled their homes citing inhuman atrocities by ISIS and Boko Haram in countries such as Iraq, Syria, and North African countries, and took refuge in affluent Europe; a majority of these refugees were Muslims. Several countries had to accept these refugees against their wish – all because of the persuasive pig-headedness of the then German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Sweden, too, took in Muslim refugees in large numbers under the leadership of the Social Democrats. However, it is important to note that the current public opinion in Sweden hints at an ideological defeat of Merkel.
The expectation of Indians !
Several European ‘Christian’ countries are smaller than most Indian States or even Districts, with most of these countries being developed and wealthy. However, due to a non-diverse social order, a lot of native people are finding it difficult to accept these ‘legally valid’ refugees. The scenario of ‘Hindu’ India is different. India has set an example to the world through its 2500-year-old history of being accepting of the cultures of Persians, Jews, etc. Today, millions of ‘legally invalid’ Bangladeshi and Rohingya Muslims are claiming their rights to national resources in India. That they are behind several incidents of violence is an open truth. On the other hand, Western media is ridiculing BJP that is in power by addressing it as ‘Neo-Nazi’, ‘Hindu Nationalist’, etc. However, it is important that India ignores such entities and sets a new example of deporting illegal Muslims. The election results in Italy and Sweden are pointing to this very phenomenon and Indians hope that India, who is riding on the wave of cultural nationalism, tactfully handles the Uniform Civil Code issue and takes a hard stand on refugees too.