Sweden’s Islamist Nuance Party (Partiet Nyans, or PNy) has set its sights on entering the European Parliament (EP) in the elections to be held in June 2024. Although more than a year before the elections, the party has launched its campaign, especially in immigrant-populated areas trying to make its mark by entering the EP.
Tweeting an image of a billboard, party Chairman Mikail Yüksel urged voters in Kula, a district of Turkey’s Konya province, from where 40 percent of the Turks and Kurds who have immigrated to Sweden have come, to vote for him in the EP elections in 2024. The ad reads that they only need 160,000 votes throughout Sweden. Thousands of Turkish-Swedish immigrants are expected to be in Kula for their summer holiday.
In a document in Turkish on the party’s website, Yüksel emphasizes that participation in the EP elections is generally low and that this is an advantage for Nyans, claiming that voter behavior in the EP elections differs from that in general elections and that therefore they have a chance to be elected.
In the 2019 EP elections, the turnout in Sweden was 55 percent, with 4,187,848 people voting. The Liberal Party, which received the fewest votes among parties that were able to put deputies in the parliament, received 171,419 votes for one deputy. Sweden has 20 deputies in the EP.
The votes and seats won by Swedish parties in the 2019 EP elections:
In Sweden’s parliamentary elections in 2022, the Nyans Party got 28,352 votes, corresponding to 0.44 percent of the electorate, making it the largest party in Sweden that is not represented in parliament. But Nyans has enjoyed some success in regional and municipal elections. In the Stockholm region, it received 0.70 percent of votes cast. In Skåne, it received 1 percent of all votes. Its performance was more noteworthy in municipal elections. In the Botkyrka municipality in the south of the Stockholm region, the party managed to get 2.03 percent, or 916 votes, above the 2 percent threshold, and secured two seats out of 75 on the city council.
The Nyans Party, founded and chaired by Yüksel, who was expelled from the liberal Center Party (Centerpartiet) in 2018 due to his relations with violent Turkish nationalist group the Grey Wolves, the youth branch of Turkey’s far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), achieved success in several neighborhoods of Sweden’s big cities of Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg. This situation, which was not reflected in recent pre-election polls, came as a surprise to many political experts who agree that immigrants in Sweden generally prefer established parties
Yüksel, 40, from Kulu, settled in Sweden due to marriage in 2001. He started his education in political science at Gothenburg University after working a number of jobs. Yüksel got into politics with the Center Party, which he says he felt close to since it was multicultural and the party of villagers in Sweden.
In an interview he gave to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, Yüksel claimed he was expelled from the party because he refused to make a statement against Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkey in 2018. Considering that Yüksel was at the top of the parliamentary list along with party leader Annie Lööf, his dismissal caused quite a stir in Sweden at the time.
Yüksel denies that Nyans is an Islamist party and says it believes in a multicultural society. According to Yüksel, Islamophobia, integration and housing problems are the core issues they attach the most importance to. Yüksel also advocates for official minority status for Muslims, the same as Jews. The Nyans Party has recently appeared at support meetings for families whose children have been put in the care of Swedish Social Services (Socialtjänsten). According to Nyans, Muslims are discriminated against when children are taken from their parents on the grounds that they are mistreated. In addition, children who are placed with foster families lose their Muslim identities.
Nyans was criticized in the election campaign by other parties for increasing the polarization among voters by stoking people’s fears, exploiting feelings of alienation and casting suspicion on Swedish authorities to win votes. Some of its candidates in Skåne spread propaganda against Jews and peddled conspiracy theories about the terrorist attacks in the US on September 11, 2001.
Yüksel does not hesitate to openly support Erdogan, who has been harshly criticized by the Swedish people for making trouble for Sweden’s NATO membership. He recently criticized the Swedish government for not knowing to negotiate with Turkey.
During the 2022 election campaign, Yüksel was given a platform by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency to raise his talking points, which helped to promote him, especially in Turkish circles in Sweden as well as in districts like Kulu.
In February 2022 Erdogan hosted a large delegation from the Union of International Democrats (UID), his ruling party’s long arm in Europe, at the presidential palace in Ankara and asked participants living in Europe to organize and to create mechanisms that would affect politics in the countries in which they live.
Erdogan also said if they are united, no state, party or organization in Europe can impose anything on them, adding that they will become a community that can’t be ignored.