Positionspapier zum Vertiefungsangebot "Die ideologische Modernisierung des Rechtsextremismus" im Rahmen der Fachtagung "Entgrenzter Rechtsextremismus? Internationale Perspektiven und Gegenstrategien" der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung in München, 09.-10.02.2015.
Sweden Democrats: Sweden differs from the majority of European countries in that it was not until the late 1980s that an extreme nationalist party was created on a national level and developed much later than in many other European countries. Sverigedemokraterna (SD), the Swedish Democrats, was founded in 1988. SD started to grow significantly in 1989/90. There are a number of reasons for its initial growth aside from the referendum in the municipality of Sjöbo on reception of refugees. First, the public debate reinforced SD's arguments. In this debate refugees were no longer seen as a resource, but as a problem. More restrictive legislation on political asylum (enacted in December 1989), and changes in the public opinion towards a more restrictive handling of refugees and immigrants, also contributed to legitimizing SD. In the 1991 election SD faced competition from Sjöbopartiet and Framstegspartiet, whose anti-immigration programme strongly resembled SD's.
Framstegspartiet/Sjöbopartiet, contested the election as a coalition and received 27,637 votes at local level. SD received 4,889 votes at national level and two seats on local councils. During 1991 the activities of the parliamentary anti-immigration parties declined. There were two reasons for this: firstly, part of the recruitment base for the parliamentary parties was undermined by the rise of Ny Demokrati, a populist and party with anti-immigration tendencies. This party received 6.7% of the vote in the general election in 1991. Secondly, younger members left the party to join revolutionary groups propagating racist ideology. The above-mentioned factors contributed to internal conflicts within the parliamentary groups, paralyzing party activities. However, in 1993, when Ny Demokrati – also plagued by internal splits and scandals –began to lose political support, SD intensified its activities and began to gain some support among the generation born in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1994 election SD received approximately 14,000 votes in the general election. In the 2002 election SD improved its showing again, receiving 1.4% of the votes. The SD experienced a big resurgence in the 2006 election: the party received 2.9% of the votes in the general election.
In the election in September 2010 the SD received 5.7% of the votes and 20 seats in the national assembly. This meant the end of 22 years on the margins of Swedish politics for the SD –the SD found itself at the heart of the political debate. Not only did the party enter the national assembly, but the election result meant that neither the blue nor the green-red coalition gained a majority of the vote. The election 2010 meant that Sweden was no longer exceptional in Europe – and the SD's electoral success triggered off large anti-racist demonstrations in many cities, and a wave of violence directed against SD candidates and supposed supporters. In the election to the European parliament in May 2014 SD received 9,6% of the votes and two seats in the European Parliament. And in the general election in September 2014 SD received 12,9% of the votes, more than twice as much as 2010.