Sweden Election Sees Surge In Support For Far-Right Party

Saul Bowman
September 11, 2018

These results were predicted, as were the subsequent talks among the parties.

The move has polarised voters and fractured the long-standing political consensus. Voters might see the Sweden Democrats as the country's only opposition party.

"It's really upsetting", he said.

"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.

With almost all districts having reported, the ruling centre-left Social Democrats and Greens and their Left Party allies had 40.6 percent of the vote, while the opposition, Alliance, was at 40.3 percent.

In an interview with NPR's Michel Martin, reporter Maddy Savage says that among the eight parties gunning for seats in parliament, there's historically "a sense of left or a sense of right bloc that's able to form a coalition".

The Moderates party was next at 19.2 percent, while the far-right Sweden Democrats that before the election inspired fear of an anti-migrant backlash that would produce a dramatic ideological swing had 17.9 percent.

The far-right Sweden Democrats solidified their position as third-biggest party and kingmaker, albeit with a lower score than they had expected.

The governing Social Democrat party is the largest party, but because the centre left doesn't have a collective majority, it can't govern together in a coalition.

With most ballots from Sunday's election counted, the ruling Social Democrats led by Prime Minister Stefan Lofven had 28.1% of the vote - their worst showing in decades.

Kristersson called on Lofven to resign, but rebuffed Akesson.

The Social Democrats have ruled out cooperating with the Sweden Democrats, but party secretary Richard Jomshof has said they want to be part of government. 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. Moderate party secretary, Gunnar Strommer, said after the exit polls were published that he thinks "it's pretty clear" Lofven will need to resign. "The democratic revolution in Europe is underway!"


The election will add to the concerns in Brussels as the EU enters campaign mode in the run-up to the European Parliament election in May.

Lengthening queues for critical operations, shortages of doctors and teachers and a police service that has failed to deal with inner-city gang violence have shaken faith in the "Swedish model", built on a promise of comprehensive welfare and social inclusion.

"It's. about decency, about a decent democracy".

At the same time, the Sweden Democrats party still prides itself on its consistently hard-line position on immigration-and it proved that it could very ably inject its ideas into the political mainstream. "The other parties can't ignore them any more", he said.

"I'm afraid we're becoming a society that is more hostile to foreigners".

"I know who won this election", said party leader Jimmie Akesson to a great jubilation from supporters.

The Alliance was meeting Monday to hammer out a plan of its own.

Social Democratic Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has repeatedly called the legislative elections a "referendum on the future of the welfare state".

"There is no side with a majority". It's much more natural that they would go with the centre-right party.

Akesson was jubilant as he addressed supporters a day later, declaring the estimated 14 parliament seats the Social Democrats picked up a victory other parties could not ignore in coalition negotiations.

That same scenario has played out similarly in countries across Europe, where traditional left and right parties have employed similar strategies to regain voters from populist parties, largely without success.

Political horse-trading began to try to form a government which could "takes week, months, " Mr Ygeman said, according to Swedish news agency TT. This after an election campaign in which the Sweden Democrats were routinely branded as "racist" and "neo-Nazi" by their opponents-and by the worldwide press.

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