The World Today for November 03, 2021

NEED TO KNOW

Fed Up

SWEDEN

A gunman shot and killed Swedish rapper Einar recently in Stockholm. The 19-year-old, award-winning entertainer was the most streamed artist in Sweden on Spotify in 2019, Agence France-Presse reported. Einar’s songs feature drugs, crime and violence. He had public feuds with other rappers, including one who kidnapped and beat him last year.

The murder sparked outrage over gang violence in the Scandinavian country, Forbes wrote. Life among disadvantaged immigrant communities in Sweden often contradicts Sweden’s reputation of social order and harmony.

Crime was one of many reasons why Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven opted not to run for reelection when voters elect a new parliament in September 2022, according to Reuters. He is expected to step down this month when his political party, the Social Democrats, holds an annual meeting.

Lofven has run Sweden since 2014. But the coalition governments he has headed have never won a majority in parliament, requiring him to engage in “endless back-room deal-making,” wrote Politico. He is hoping that his successor can tackle the crime issue, reinforce the welfare state that Social Democrats want to support, calm Swedes concerned about high migration levels and improve an economy that is flagging amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The far-right Sweden Democrats have grown to become the third-largest political party in the country over migrations concerns. Their worries have become the center of political debates in the country, a London School of Economics blog said. As Haaretz noted, for instance, the new Israeli ambassador to Sweden stirred controversy and garnered headlines recently when he said he wouldn’t deal with the party due to its Nazi roots.

At the same time, Covid-19 caused more than 15,000 deaths in Sweden, which took a hands-off approach to public health safety measures in a bid to develop herd immunity, the Associated Press reported. That’s not high compared to worldwide rates but it is much higher than other Nordic countries. Denmark had more than 2,700 deaths. Finland’s rate was more than 1,170, and Norway’s was less than 1,000.

Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson, a Social Democrat who has held her job since 2014, is slated to become Sweden’s first female prime minister when Lofven steps down, Euronews explained. She has promised to leave “no stone unturned” regarding crime. Her main rival, meanwhile, the leader of the center-right Moderate Party, Ulf Kristersson, has called on the government to ramp up punishments and use anti-terror legislation against gangs, the Financial times added.

As she hits the ground running but keeps an eye toward elections next year, Andersson may not have much of a choice but to embrace Kristersson’s idea.

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