Mattias Karlsson (politician)

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Mattias Karlsson
Member of the Riksdag
Assumed office
4 October 2010
ConstituencyKronoberg County (2018– )
Scania County (2010–2018)
Personal details
Hans Kennert Mattias Karlsson

(1977-08-17) 17 August 1977 (age 46)
Rottne, Sweden
Political partySweden Democrats
Domestic partner(s)Gabriella Hedarv
Alma materLund University

Hans Kennert Mattias Hedarv Karlsson (born 17 August 1977) is a Swedish politician, writer and public commentator who served as Leader of the

Oikos.[3] Since 2022, he has also served as the party's international outreach secretary. Karlsson has also been described as one of the SD's chief philosophical idealogues having been responsible much of the party's current platform and shift in its beliefs.[4]

Early life

Karlsson was born in Rottne, Växjö Municipality, Kronoberg County. At age 16, he moved to the nearby city of Växjö to begin secondary school at Katedral gymnasium. Following secondary studies, Karlsson moved to Madrid, where he studied for one year. He returned to Sweden in 1999 to Lund, Scania County, enrolling into history and political science at Lund University. During his studies at the university, Karlsson met Jimmie Åkesson, incumbent leader of the Sweden Democrats, Richard Jomshof and Björn Söder. The group later became known as the "Scania Gang" or the "Fantastic Four" and worked to moderate the Sweden Democrats and change its ideology in a more moderate direction.[5]

Karlsson describes his early childhood in Rottne as inspiring his later political action:

“I know that there is a Swedish culture. I know how it feels to grow up in a homogeneous society, where everyone has the same identity. And when people say, ‘it’s never been like that, Sweden has always been multicultural, that’s all just imaginary,’ I know they’re lying."[6]

Political career

Sweden Democrats

Karlsson reported having gained his political convictions during his teenage years in Växjö as a result of conflicts with immigrant "kickers" gangs who were engaging in criminal activity in the area and what he described as his resentment towards the lack of Swedish pride and solidarity in society. He described having been inspired by Swedish Viking rock band Ultima Thule. Karlsson claims to have never associated with the sizable neo-Nazi skinhead scene that mobilized during his youth, and claims to have been called a "meatball patriot" by racist skinheads for his moderate and more accepting ideology.[7]

In a 2011 interview with Expo, Karlsson stated that he first took notice of the Sweden Democrats in 1994 and attended a meeting of the local branch in Växjö but chose not join the party at first due to disagreeing with its more hardline stances under Anders Klarström which he considered racist. However, he said that he felt Sweden "needed a new policy" on immigration and national pride, and that he considered himself "a Sweden Democrat without being a member of the party."[8]

Karlsson first joined the Sweden Democrats as an official member in 1999. His first important impact within the Sweden Democrats came in 2002, when he alongside Jimmie Åkesson and former leader Mikael Jansson reshaped the party's political programme. According to Expo, Karlsson also wrote the Sweden Democrats' election manifesto for to the 2006 general election. Since 2008, he is recognized as the leading ideologue of the Sweden Democrats, after its former chief ideologue Johan Rinderheim was forced to leave the party.[4]

Before the Sweden Democrats' entered the Riksdag in 2010, Karlsson worked as a political secretary for the Sweden Democrats council group in Malmö Municipality. He was the party's press secretary at the national level from 2004 to 2010. After the 2010 general election, Karlsson was elected as a Member of the Riksdag (SD). In 2012, Karlsson was appointed deputy leader of the Sweden Democrats in the Riksdag.

Following the 2014 general election, Karlsson was re-elected to the Riksdag. On 29 September 2014, he was appointed leader of the Sweden Democrats in the Riksdag to take over from Jimmie Åkesson who was on sick leave. Since 2022, he has served in the newly created position of international outreach secretary for the party.[2]

On 13 March 2019, Karlsson announced that he would be stepping down as the leader of the Sweden Democrats in the Riksdag.[9] This was officially confirmed on 24 November.[10] His successor was Henrik Vinge.


Karlsson has referred to himself as a

conservative and has cited British philosopher Roger Scruton as an influence, saying that Scruton's work played a role in his beliefs and reforms and ideological changes he made to the SD's platform.[11][12]

Karlsson has argued that conservatism played a role in Sweden's political stability and reputation for strong social structures until the late twentieth century. He has stated "before the Sixties, even the

Folkhem — and that we should be in solidarity with each other because we belong to each other." However, he said Sweden has now ended up with "radical progressive ideas on culture and civilisation and individualism, and on top of that, a big state" which he believes causes many of Sweden's current political problems.[13]

Karlsson has been vocal against the Islamization of Sweden. In 2015, Karlsson received media attention after comparing Islam to Nazism, saying that the former is currently a bigger threat to national security.[14][15] In February 2017, Karlsson penned a letter to The Wall Street Journal, along with fellow Sweden Democrats politician Jimmie Åkesson agreeing with President Donald Trump's assertions that Sweden is undergoing a Muslim immigrant-led crime crisis stating: "Mr. Trump did not exaggerate Sweden’s current problems. If anything, he understated them."[16][17]

Karlsson has also expressed opposition to the

The Daily Express he argued the EU should not punish Britain for its vote and described the EU as a "zombie," stating "it’s actually dead but still walking. But in the end, it will show that this kind of structure is not sustainable. I think it will fall."[18] He has argued that the EU should exist as a union of sovereign states and that Sweden should "remove as much power as possible from the (EU) superstate.” He supports Swedish law coming first before European law.[19]

In February 2020, Karlsson announced his new think-tank Oikos, with members on the steering board such as Malcom Kyeyune, Asle Toje, the ethnographer Dan Korn, and the leader of New Direction, Naweed Khan.[3]

Further reading


  1. ^ Jimmie Åkesson was on sick leave due to burnout. Mattias Karlsson was acting party leader.
  2. ^ a b Mattias Karlsson ny SD-gruppledare Sveriges Radio, 29 September 2014
  3. ^ a b Forssblad, Mari; Stefansson, Klara (2020-02-02). "Mattias Karlsson (SD) startar konservativ tankesmedja". SVT Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 2020-02-09.
  4. ^ a b [ Vinglig färd mot makt Fokus, 29 augusti 2008, nr 35
  5. ^ Ideologen – Expo Demokratisk Tidskrift
  6. ^ Teitelbaum, Benjamin (2013). “Come Hear Our Merry Song:” Shifts in the Sound of Contemporary Swedish Radical Nationalism. Ph.D. Dissertation, Brown 62
  7. ^ Teitelbaum, Benjamin (2013). “Come Hear Our Merry Song:” Shifts in the Sound of Contemporary Swedish Radical Nationalism. Ph.D. Dissertation, Brown 71-72
  8. ^ "The ideologue". Retrieved 2024-02-04.
  9. ^ Järkstig, Linnea (13 March 2019). "Mattias Karlsson lämnar sin post som SD-gruppledare" (in Swedish). Omni. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  10. ^ "Mattias Karlsson". Riksdag official website (in Swedish). Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  11. ^ "Can Roger Scruton save the European Right?". Retrieved 2024-02-06.
  12. ^ "The New Right is on a roll in Europe". Retrieved 2024-02-06.
  13. ^ "Can Roger Scruton save the European Right?". Retrieved 2024-02-06.
  14. ^ Nyheter, S. V. T.; Zachrisson Winberg, Johan (2015-01-27). "Mattias Karlsson: Islamism större hot än nazism i dag". SVT Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 2023-11-02.
  15. ISSN 0190-8286
    . Retrieved 2023-11-02.
  16. ^ Fox News: "Sweden Democrats: Trump was right" February 23, 2017 | "Riots and social unrest have become a part of everyday life,” Akesson and Karlsson wrote. “Police officers, firefighters and ambulance personnel are regularly attacked. Serious riots in 2013, involving many suburbs with large immigrant populations, lasted for almost a week. Gang violence is booming. Despite very strict firearms laws, gun violence is five times as common in Sweden, in total, as in the capital cities of our three Nordic neighbors combined."
  17. ^ Wall Street Journal: "Trump Is Right: Sweden’s Embrace of Refugees Isn’t Working – The country has accepted 275,000 asylum-seekers, many without passports—leading to riots and crime." by Jimmie Åkesson and Mattias Karlsson 22 February 2017
  18. ^ The Daily Express: EU IS A ZOMBIE! Brussels leaders compared to 'walking dead' as European project crumbles." by Lizzie Stromme 15 April 2017
  19. ^ "Can Roger Scruton save the European Right?". Retrieved 2024-02-06.

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by Leader of the Sweden Democrats in the Riksdag
Succeeded by
Henrik Vinge