Mattias Karlsson (politician)

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Mattias Karlsson
Mattias Karlsson.jpg
Leader of the Sweden Democrats
in the Riksdag
In office
29 September 2014 – 24 November 2019
LeaderJimmie Åkesson
Preceded byBjörn Söder
Succeeded byHenrik Vinge
Leader of the Sweden Democrats
In office
17 October 2014 – 27 March 2015
Preceded byJimmie Åkesson
Succeeded byJimmie Åkesson
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 44)
Rottne, Sweden
Political partySweden Democrats
Domestic partnerGabriella Hedarv
Alma materLund University

Hans Kennert Mattias Hedarv Karlsson (born 17 August 1977) is a Swedish politician who served as Leader of the Sweden Democrats in the Riksdag from September 2014 to November 2019. He has been a Member of the Riksdag (SD) for Scania County since October 2010. He previously served as Leader of the Sweden Democrats from 2014 to 2015.[2] He currently heads the conservative think-tank Oikos.[3]

Early life[edit]

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. Karlsson reported having gained his political convictions during his years in Växjö as a result of conflicts with immigrant "kickers" gangs and 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.[4]

Following secondary studies, Karlsson moved to Madrid, where he studied during 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.[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[edit]

Karlsson first joined the Sweden Democrats in 1994, which was then led by Anders Klarström. 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.[7]

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.[2]

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."[8][9]

On 13 March 2019, Karlsson announced that he would be stepping down as the leader of the Sweden Democrats in the Riksdag.[10] This was officially confirmed on 24 November.[11] His successor was Henrik Vinge.

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[edit]


  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. ^ Teitelbaum, Benjamin (2013). “Come Hear Our Merry Song:” Shifts in the Sound of Contemporary Swedish Radical Nationalism. Ph.D. Dissertation, Brown 71-72
  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. ^ [ Vinglig färd mot makt Fokus, 29 augusti 2008, nr 35
  8. ^ 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."
  9. ^ 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
  10. ^ Järkstig, Linnea (13 March 2019). "Mattias Karlsson lämnar sin post som SD-gruppledare" (in Swedish). Omni. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  11. ^ "Mattias Karlsson". Riksdag official website (in Swedish). Retrieved 3 December 2019.

External links[edit]

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