In September, the far-right Sweden Democrats won their first seats in parliament. They are inspired by the Danish People’s Party, which campaigns against the “Islamization” of Denmark, the country’s third-largest party.
Norway’s anti-immigrant Progress Party won 23 percent of the vote in the last elections in 2009.
“The new trend is that these parties are attractive to the middle class, especially in Scandinavia,” said Florian Hartleb, who specializes in populist politics at the Center for European Studies in Brussels.
“People fear [the deterioration] of their rich welfare states, and the populists play on these fears, even though there is an actual low rate of immigration.”
Legacy of guest workers
On the Continent, meanwhile, immigration has a longer legacy — people migrated from former colonies or came as invited “guest workers” from the 1960s on to fill labor shortages in booming economies.
The problem is, Europeans expected them to return home, saidMs.Mandel. Political leaders never talked openly about integrating them, easing citizenship laws for them or what that meant for their societies until relatively recently.
As a result, mainstream voters, feeling left out of the process, are shunning the establishment parties for more radical choices, Mr. Hartleb said.
In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, leader of the staunchly anti-immigrant Freedom Party, remains on trial for violating hate-speech laws for anti-Muslim comments. He has pushed for a ban on the Koran, and his party is the third largest in the Netherlands.
“Eurabia and Netherabia are just a matter of time,” he has told the Dutch parliament in a warning of the growing Arab population.
The Swiss People’s Party has been part of the country’s governing coalition since 2007. It is responsible for the 2009 minaret ban and others targeting immigrants.
Some of their campaign posters show white sheep on a Swiss flag kicking out a black one: “Promoting security,” they read.
In Austria, the ultra-right Freedom Party won 26 percent of the vote in local Vienna elections in October.
In the nearby Styria district, the party distributed a video game called “Bye, Bye Mosque” during the campaign in September’s state elections. Players could win points by putting a target over mosques set on a typical bucolic Austrian landscape and clicking “stop.”
The party more than doubled its share of the vote over previous elections and won seats in the state parliament.View Entire Story
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