6 Sweden the Sweden Democrats, a cross-party agreement was made between all parties apart from the Left party and Sweden Democrats. This agreement allowed the minority government, a coalition between the Social Democrats (Socialdemokraterna) and the Green party (Miljöpartiet de gröna), to get its budget passed in parliament. The agreement was formally abandoned in October 2015. While the opposition is still allowing the Social Democrats–Green Party government to govern, much of the political debate in Sweden is devoted to the question of how a majority government may be formed after the 2018 election. The most controversial issue is whether any of the mainstream parties are to break the taboo and seek some form of cooperation with the Sweden Democrats in order to govern. While most parties are still fiercely against this, statements by leaders and representatives of the Moderate party, the Christian Democrats and the Liberal party (Liberalerna, previously Folkpartiet) have suggested that they may be willing to negotiate with Sweden Democrats in the future. 19 A recent poll also suggests that the voters for these parties are the most positive about having some form of cooperation with Sweden Democrats. 20 In recent polls, support for the Sweden Democrats stands at 18 per cent. 21 In short, Swedish immigration politics has changed substantially and rhetorically in the past few years, with asylum policies taking a restrictive turn following a large influx of asylum seekers, support for the Sweden Democrats rocketing and immigration taking an uncharacteristically but seemingly unmovable central position on the political agenda. Figure 3 shows the proportion of Swedish people who think immigration is one of the two most important issues facing Sweden between 2005 and 2016, and the proportion who thought it was the single most important issue the country faced between 1987 and 2014.
383 Figure 3 The proportion of Swedish people who think immigration is one of the two most important issues facing Sweden, 1987–2014 and 2005–2016 The proportion of Swedish people who think immigration is the most important issue facing Sweden, 1987–2014 The proportion of Swedish people who think immigration is one of the two most important issues facing Sweden, 2005–2016 60 Percentage 40 20 0 1986 1991 1996 2001 2006 2011 2016 Source: SOM, 2015; Eurobarometer interactive database, Jan 2017. 22 We now look at some of the political rhetoric and public opinion that is part of this shift.