Sweden faces deadlock as far-right gains in vote

12 September, 2018, 02:29 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Employment and economy key to growth of Sweden Democrats research

Centre-left and centre-right parties have ruled together only a handful of times since the mid-1930s. Although the country initially welcomed the new arrivals, moods quickly soured amid fears that the wave of people fleeing war and poverty could capsize Sweden's generous social welfare system.

The Sweden Democrats (SD) are expected to achieve 19.2% of the vote.

There was a sense of relief among supporters of mainstream parties about the far-right's less dramatic gains. Under the current leader, Jimmie Akesson, who took over in 2005, the party insists it has no tolerance for racist or xenophobic rhetoric and routinely kicks out members discovered to be espousing openly racist sentiments (which, to be fair, still happens quite often).

Neither the governing Social Democrats nor the centre-right bloc of parties are predicted to win a majority.

Leaders in Brussels will be disappointed with the party's surge ahead of the European Parliament's elections in May next year, as they bid to discourage euroskepticism following the UK's decision to leave the EU, and as populist parties form alliances to shake up the EU establishment ahead of the vote.

Final results are due before midnight (2200 GMT), but the composition of the next government may not be known for weeks.

Sky's Michelle Clifford, who is reporting from the Sweden Democrats' election party, said: "They have done well, but the aspirations from the polls was that they would be the second largest, but that doesn't seem so".

The Social Democratic party, Sweden's largest party whose ideals have dominated Swedish politics for most of the last 100 years, got their weakest result since 1908.

The Sweden Democrats: Winners or losers?

Lengthy negotiations will follow to attempt to form a workable government.


The Sweden Democrats, a party with white supremacist roots, won 17.6 per cent, about 5 percentage points more than four years ago.

The center-right Moderates have become especially tough on immigration, echoing numerous positions of the Sweden Democrats.

"The Alliance will not govern or discuss how to form a government with the Sweden Democrats", he said.

The election had been watched closely for signs about the extent to which a cascade of anti-immigrant fear could hit even Sweden, which has always been one of Europe's most open nations toward refugees.

The right-wing populists have dictated the agenda and the established parties (except for the Left Party, the Greens, to some extent the centre-right Centre and the Social Democrats) have bought into their description of the state of Sweden and adjusted their political proposals thereafter.

Lofven eventually said Sweden no longer could cope with the influx and immigration laws were tightened.

The Sweden Democrats emerged with 63 MPs, up from 49, leaving them in a strong position.

About 7.5 million registered voters were choosing from nearly 6,300 candidates for a four-year term in the 349-seat Riksdag, or parliament. More Swedes than ever split their ballot: 30% chose different parties at the local, regional and national levels. Both parties are joined by a number of smaller fringe parties in forming their respective coalition blocs.

At the Swedish Democrat's election eve rally Saturday, party leader Jimmie Akesson criticized Lofven's government for "prioritizing" the needs of new immigrants the ones of Swedish citizens.

Mr Akesson had labelled the vote a choice between immigration and welfare in a campaign that was unusually antagonistic. Many allege that immigrants were behind the massive auto bombing spree in August, which saw 160 cars torched. Nevertheless, prime minister Stefan Löfven did not resign on election night, citing the need for stability. Such a government is already in place in Denmark, where the center-right Venstre is in government with the backing of the further right Danish People's Party.

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