Sweden elections 2018: Who's who?
Swedish politics have grown more fractured since the 2014 elections, spurred by a shaky minority coalition and rise of the far-right Sweden Democrats. DW lists the main party leaders and their respective manifestos.
This election is unlikely to pan out well for Prime Minister Stefan Lofven. His Social Democrats have dominated Swedish politics since the 1930s and effectively built up the country's welfare state. Now, however, the SAP is expected to record a low score. Lofven has been attacked by the right for his open-door migrant policy, and from the left for later slamming that door shut.
Ulf Kristersson's Moderates will be battling with the far-right Sweden Democrats for popularity this year and could fall to third place. Kristersson's stance towards the far-right remains ambiguous: while he has ruled out cooperating with them, he has stopped short of labeling them as racist. On policy, the party has remained true to its name, focusing mainly on law and order, and job creation.
In 2014, the far-right Sweden Democrats saw a monumental rise in support, taking 13 percent of the vote. This year, the party is tipped to take as much as 20 percent and could finish second ahead of the Moderates. The SD's popularity is largely due to rising anti-migrant sentiment (Sweden took in over 160,000 asylum seekers in 2015) and Akesson's efforts cleanse the party of its neo-Nazi roots.
Despite finishing a disappointing fourth in 2014, Sweden's Greens entered the government in a minority coalition with the SAP. But a series of crises since have seen support erode. Education Minister Gustav Fridolin became the youngest MP in Swedish history back in 2002, when he was elected aged 19. Isabella Lovin, minister for international development, has enjoyed a career in politics and media.
Sweden's Center Party emerged from the country's Farmers' League, and while agriculture and environment remain key polices, Annie Loof has emerged as the party's hope to attract urban and more progressive voters. Its strategy is paying off, a survey published last year put the Center Party at 11.3 percent — its highest polling in 27 years.
Left Party chief Jonas Sjostedt, a former metal worker and union leader, is a political veteran on the left. After serving in the European Parliament from 1995-2006, Sjostedt returned to Swedish politics and was elected to parliament in 2010 before becoming party leader two years later. The Left Party acts as a force against privatization and supports higher taxes to fund Sweden's welfare state.
A former army major, Liberal Party leader Jan Bjorklund has adopted a fighting yet disciplined approach to politics. The results have been mixed; its social reforms around education and equality have been received well, but its calls to expand the military and join NATO have mostly fallen on deaf ears. As a result, the Liberals have failed to capitalize on the Moderates' falling polling numbers.
Sweden's Christian Democrats have struggled to attract wide support, despite attempts to distance itself from religious roots. Meanwhile, the party's increasingly harsh tone towards migration appears to have alienated more voters with Christian values than it has drawn in new ones. The Christian Democrats are expected to barely scrape past the 4 percent threshold needed to enter parliament.
Author David Martin