Government work involving right-wing nationalist parties
Current experiences from Sweden and Finland
Since the fall of 2022, Sweden has had a conservative minority government made up of the Moderates, Christian Democrats and Liberals, supported by the right-wing nationalist "Sweden Democrats" (SD) via a cooperation agreement, the so-called "Tidöavtalet." While cooperation on issues such as fighting crime, expanding nuclear power, as well as in economic and budgetary matters seems to be working, the SD's rhetoric on the EU, migration and Islam has become increasingly strident in recent weeks. Although the Sweden Democrats have officially endorsed Sweden’s membership in NATO in the wake of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the party’s action about Koran burnings has complicated the ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership by Turkey and contributed to the destabilization of Sweden’s domestic security situation.
Since June 2023, Finland has also had a conservative government, which – unlike in Sweden - brought the right-wing nationalist Perussuomalaiset (PS) into government as a coalition partner with a portfolio covering 8 ministries. Within just a few days of the formation of the government, however, cracks began to show - the PS's economy minister was forced to resign over ties to neo-Nazi circles, and two other PS ministers had to publicly apologize for making racist comments. The finance minister and PS party leader is also under pressure after a violent, xenophobic blog post she had written surfaced. Leader of the conservative National Coalition Party and Prime Minister Orpo has now invited the leaders of the governing parties to an internal debate about racism and discrimination immediately following the summer break. As a result, there is a high degree of confidence that the work of the government can progress. This process was important for the continued viability of the coalition, as the increasing number of scandals surrounding right-wing PS politicians, or their statements put the three other coalition members under immense political pressure.