The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
Anti-immigration Eurosceptics come third with 17.6% of the vote. Long negotiations to form a government ahead.
The Social Democrats of Prime Minister Stefan Lofven won the general election in Sweden with 28.4% of the vote, although they received the lowest support ever.
Anti-immigration and Eurosceptic party Sweden Democrats, who managed to focus the political debate around immigration and the future of the welfare state, came third growing to 17.6% of the vote, but failing to gain the second place predicted by the polls.
The main party of the centre-right alliance, the Moderates, received 19.8% of the vote.
With this outcome, the two natural blocs (Left vs Alliance, government and opposition) would be tied with 40% of the vote and around 140 seats each.
LONG NEGOTIATIONS AHEAD
The “deadlock” scenario, as analysts describe it, will lead to long negotiations to create a majority or a plausible minority government.
“The losers seem to be the two big parties, social democrats and conservatives, as it happened before in Germany”, professor of Stockholm University Torbjörn Larsson said. “Both streams have been discussing traditional agendas without offering new debates, and the outcome has been a transfer of votes to the Sweden Democrats”.
In the last months, Sweden has seen a strong polarisation. The rise of anti-immigration feelings linked to fears of seeing a crack in the welfare system opened discussions about what the future of the country should look like.
THE VIEW OF EVANGELICALS
“The fact that many European countries more or less closed their borders to immigrants, made Sweden one of very few countries left with a very generous policy around migration, putting an extremely high pressure on the nation”, told Evangelical Focus the Secretary General of the Swedish Evangelical Alliance, Olof Edsinger.
Swedish evangelical churches have had a “very generous” approach to migrants and asylum seekers, Edsinger explained. “The Pentecostal movement, for instance, has purposefully been talking about the ‘joy of integration’. Many churches have also seen quite a few former Muslims turn to Christ during the last years, which of course is a great joy to all of us. We think God is using these streams of immigrants to give us the opportunity to share the gospel with them”.