Swedes should be given the chance to state their opinions on NATO membership in a referendum, says the leader of an opposition left-wing party.
The country has historically remained neutral and unaffiliated, but Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine and continued incursions by Russian planes into Sweden's airspace is pushing the population to seriously consider NATO membership.
Nooshi Dadgostar, leader of the Vänsterpartiet, speaking on Swedish radio on Thursday said a decision as critical as this requires widespread support, which can only be achieved by asking people to weigh in with a referendum.
Sweden's military has strong ties to NATO and often participates in training exercises. Now it is assumed the country will make a formal membership bid in mid-May. Finland is in the same situation.
Any decision to expand must be approved by all 30 NATO members.
The left-wing party is against NATO membership, partially because the military alliance has atomic weapons capacity. It is the first party to have suggested a referendum on the matter.
Experts say is it unlikely there will be time for a referendum, given the time pressures and the fact that the ruling parties most likely want the NATO question settled before parliamentary elections in September.