Anti-immigrant party wins 20% in Sweden vote

Anti-immigrant party wins 20% in Sweden vote

The Left Party was happy to take 7.9% of the vote, a 2.2% increase on previous form.

Instead, Sunday's results effectively provided no clear victor and no convenient or simple narrative to explain the shifts underway in Swedish politics. His party emerged with the greatest share of the vote - 28.4 percent as the count neared completion - yet is looking at holding fewer seats in parliament than four years ago. They come from a awful place, bad wars.

"What happens is that xenophobia, racism, anti-immigration ideas become more recognized and legitimate. because the big parties, the power-holding parties are jumping on them", said Emilia Palonen, an expert on populism at the University of Helsinki.

Neither of the leading alliances has reached the threshold of 175 seats, which is needed to govern.

The ruling centre-left Social Democrats were in the lead with 26.2 per cent of the votes, down from 31 per cent in the 2014 election and its lowest score in a century.

For Jan Andersson, 69, the advances made by the Sweden Democrats overshadowed the considerable success of the party he had backed, the Left, which won 39% of the vote in the local constituency. So far, he has been rebuffed, but depending on the final vote count, there may be some give, especially since at the local level nearly all parties have already been working together with the Sweden Democrats for some time.

"We are Sweden's biggest party", Lofven said late Sunday. "So we really have to solve it now".

"Who do you want to negotiate with, Stefan Lofven or Jimmie Akesson?" he asked at an election night party on Sunday.

The potential for an immigration backlash to result in a big boost for the far-right Sweden Democrats inspired fear among many Swedes before the election. And in the meantime, all the parties refuse to talk to the Sweden Democrats.

Like Kangas, he said he hoped the other parties would reach some sort of agreement to prevent the Sweden Democrats from gaining influence.

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Mainstream politicians have so far ruled out cooperation with the Sweden Democrats. But the process could take weeks and possibly fail, with the Sweden Democrats vowing to sink any cabinet that doesn't give them a say in policy.

The Sweden Democrats rise comes after widespread discontent over immigration, particularly the massive influx of refugees which started in 2015. And this wasn't just campaign speak.

The growth of the Sweden Democrats in recent elections is certainly one reason for the decline of the dominant political parties and their respective blocs. However, the mainstream parties are extremely reluctant to work with the group, because of its nationalist, exclusivist values.

Adin, who did not vote despite being eligible to do so, said he had the opposite concern, that the Sweden Democrats would in fact gain influence. "[The Social Democrats] had been seen as too polite, too open, and too much embracing of globalization and migration".

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

Mr. Akesson challenged Mr. Kristersson to choose between seeking support from the Sweden Democrats for an Alliance government or accepting four more years of Mr. Lofven as prime minister.

Social Democratic Prime Minister Stefan Löfven's red-green left bloc now has a razor-thin one-seat lead over the centre-right opposition Alliance, with almost 200,000 ballots from Swedes who voted overseas still to be counted on Wednesday.

The result gives no party a clear route to forming a government, leaves the country politically fragmented and means that the ruling Social Democrats could potentially lose power.

Akesson told daily Expressen he had invited two right-wing parties, the Moderates and Christian Democrats, to talks "to hear how they're thinking".

He sparked an outcry during a televised debate on Friday when he said foreigners had more difficulty finding jobs "because they're not Swedes". "That is to go back in history".

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