World Bulletin / News Desk
The far-right Sweden Democrats have called a vote of no-confidence against Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.
Sweden Democrat’s acting party leader Mattias Karlsson called for Löfven to be removed from his position during a party leaders' debate at the Swedish Parliament on Wednesday, after the prime minister called off snap elections due later this year.
''Our starting point is that we want to have as good a leadership as possible for Sweden and Stefan Löfven does not live up to these demands," Karlsson told reporters in Stockholm.
However, the center-right opposition said it would not vote against Löfven, making the Sweden Democrats’ vote unlikely to succeed.
Löfven said: ''[Sweden Democrats] do it to bring attention."
''They’re turning the Riksdag [Swedish Parliament] into their own playhouse.''
- Deal reached
The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats became "kingmakers" in parliament after winning 12.9 percent of the votes in elections on Sept.14, 2014.
The newly elected center-left government almost collapsed on Dec.3, 2014 after failing to reach an agreement with the center-right opposition over the 2015 budget, proposed by Prime Minister Lövfen, who called not only for taxes to be raised for spending on welfare and jobs, but also to cut tax payments for two-thirds of Sweden’s retired population.
Löfven eventually reached a deal with the opposition in late December, which allowed the newly elected minority government of Social Democrats and the Greens to remain in power.
Wednesday’s party leaders' debate at the Swedish Parliament comes amid a sensitive time following series of arson attacks on mosques across Sweden.
On Jan.2 at least 3,200 people gathered in Sweden's three largest cities - Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo - to protest against racism and Islamophobia in the country.
Sweden's Culture Minister Alice Bah Kuhnke, who also attended the protests, said she would meet representatives of various Muslim communities in February as part of a national strategy against Islamophobia.
- Fascist history
Before changing its name to Sweden Democrats, the SD was originally a nationalist movement called BSS meaning Keep Sweden Swedish, created by Leif Ericsson in 1979.
Ericsson’s successor as party leader, from 1989 to 1995, was Anders Klarstrom, a former member of a Swedish neo-fascist political party called NRP, founded in 1956.
Experts claim that one of the reasons behind the SD’s increased popularity is its stance against immigration in Sweden, which expected 80,000 asylum seekers in 2014, according to the migration board.
SD vows heavy cuts to immigration, claiming this would save the Swedish government 151 billion Swedish kronor ($21.9 billion) within four years.
The nationalist party’s goal is also to assimilate foreigners into Swedish culture, according to the party program.
"Foreigners with the intention of staying in the country shall adapt to the Swedish way of living,’’ it has said.