February 26, 2016 / 9:40 AM / 2 years ago

Sweden Democrats lose ground in polls on new asylum rules

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Support for the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats party fell for the second month running in February, with Sweden’s opposition Moderates the most popular party, a poll on Friday showed.

Immigration has become a hot political issue in Sweden in recent years, with record numbers of people drawn by generous asylum policies. Sweden took in 163,000 asylum seekers last year, nearly doubling a record of 84,000 in the 1990s.

Since the government introduced border checks and tightened asylum rules to stem the influx, polls have shown a fall in support for the Sweden Democrats, which had made huge gains in the polls after the 2014 election.

The next general elections in Sweden are scheduled for 2018.

The Sweden Democrats saw their support drop to 16.2 percent in February from a high of 18.9 in December, a poll by Ipsos for daily Dagens Nyheter showed, echoing a poll by Novus for TV4 earlier this week showing the party with 19.3 points in February, down from a high of 22 in December.

The party scored 12.9 percent in the 2014 election.

The opposition centre-left Moderate party was the biggest party in the poll for the second month running with 25.6 percent, just ahead of the Social Democrats who form a minority government with the Green Party.

Reporting by Johan Ahlander; Editing by Alexander Smith

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