Swedes weigh choices before vote likely to boost far-right

Swedes weigh choices before vote likely to boost far-right

Swedes weigh choices before vote likely to boost far-right

For those predicting a decisive right-wing triumph, the ultimate result didn't quite live up to the hype.

Hence the leader of the nationalist Sweden Democrats, Jimmy Akesson's claim, that he is the "kingmaker" being the third most popular party - but that's a simplified view.

Unless parties on the center-left and center-right break ranks with their blocs, it is likely to be impossible to form a stable government without some kind of support from the Sweden Democrats, who want the country to leave the European Union and freeze immigration.

Mainstream politicians have so far ruled out co-operation with the Sweden Democrats.

Both the Social Democratic Party and the Moderate Party have always had to rely on the support of smaller allied parties to form working government coalitions; some would certainly argue that Sweden's diverse political landscape is a feature, rather than a bug.

In Sweden, to enter Parliament, a party has to pass the 4-percent threshold. The center-left party emerged with the greatest share of the vote - 28.4 percent as the count neared completion - yet looking at holding fewer parliament seats than four years ago. "So we really have to solve it now".

Svenska Dagbladet also reported that the far-right Alternative for Sweden party raised alleged election breaches by "shouting loud" on social media as soon as polls opened on Sunday. 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).

It would also make them the biggest populist party in the Nordic region, topping the Danish People's Party, which gained 21 per cent in 2015, and would trump the 12.6 per cent for the far-right Alternative for Germany, which swept into the Bundestag a year ago. Among other things, the party no longer advocates for reintroducing the death penalty or for limiting the adoption of non-Nordic children.

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The potential of a surge by the party had many Swedes anxious about an erosion of the humanitarian values that have always been a foundation of their country's identity. The SD has argued that the high number of migrants taken in by Sweden is driving up crime and putting the welfare system at risk.

Victory for the Sweden Democrats means that neither of these blocks got anything close to a parliamentary majority.

"We have been completely clear during the whole election", he said. And this wasn't just campaign speak.

The Sweden Democrats have promised to sink any government that refuses to give them a say in policy, particularly on immigration. But thanks to the Sweden Democrats, it became a question that couldn't go unanswered, Johan Hassel, the Social Democrats' global secretary, said after the vote.

"The biggest factor is that the Sweden Democrats are a very different party with a very different background to, let's say, the Progress Party in Norway, and even to the Danish People's Party".

With the prospect of weeks or months of coalition talks before the next government is formed, Swedish tabloid Expressen headlined its front page Monday: "Chaos".

"Sweden, the homeland of multiculturalism and model of the left, after years of wild immigration has finally made a decision to change", observed Salvini, who became Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior in Italy's new League/Five-Star Movement populist coalition government after this year's shock elections.

Social Democrat prime minister Stefan Lofven pledged on Sunday evening to remain prime minister of Sweden, with the general elections giving his centre-left bloc 144 seats in the Swedish parliament, the Riksdagen - one more mandate than the centre-right opposition alliance's 143 seats. Neither bloc wants to deal with the party. They'll "have to face the facts", Andersson said. Voters might see the Sweden Democrats as the country's only opposition party. "The Sweden Democrats, they've divided people up into us and them". More Swedes than ever split their ballot: 30% chose different parties at the local, regional and national levels.

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