Sweden Election: Ruling Party Scrapes A Win As Far-Right Gains Support

Swedish politicians have abandoned the nation

The governing party is still likely to be either the first-place center-left Social Democrats or the second-place center-right Moderate Party, the.

The Sweden Democrats, a party founded by white supremacists, rose to 17.8 per cent from 12.9 per cent in the last election four years ago, in effect securing the balance of power.

But the outcome, if the polls are proved correct, leaves the centre-right and centre-left blocs that have defined Swedish politics for decades neck-and neck, and well short of a parliamentary majority in the 349-seat Riksdag.

In Sweden, the influx of 163,000 asylum seekers in 2015 has polarised voters, and could give the Sweden Democrats, a party with roots in the neo-Nazi fringe, a veto over which parties form the next government.

The latest opinion poll suggests that Prime Minister Stefan Lofven's ruling Social Democrats will substantially lose seats but still emerge a victor with an estimated 24.9 percent of the votes.

Sweden's anti-immigrant far-right made gains in legislative elections Sunday and vowed to exert "real influence" as kingmaker, after both the left-wing and center-right blocs failed to obtain a majority and the make-up of the next government remained up in the air.

"This government we have had. have prioritised, during these four years, asylum-seekers", Jimmie Åkesson, the far-right party's leader, told his final election rally this weekend.

Sweden was once particularly welcoming to refugees, but the issue of migration has became highly politicized following a steady increase in new arrivals.

Latest opinion polls suggest the ruling Social Democrats led by Prime Minister Stefan Lofven would substantially lose seats at the Parliament but would still win ahead of the far-right and anti-immigration Sweden Democrats the popularity of which has steadily risen since the 2014 election.

The often antagonistic campaign was largely dominated by themes of immigration, integration and welfare, with the Sweden Democrats repeatedly presenting the vote as a straight choice between immigration and welfare spending. "We need tight responsible immigration policies". As freelance journalist Sidsel Overgaard reported for NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday: "Sweden does not track the ethnicity of perpetrators, so making a connection between immigration and crime is a largely speculative exercise".

Mohamed Nuur, a 26-year-old Social Democratic candidate of Somali descent, told The Associated Press that he sees Akesson taking Sweden back to the past. None of Sweden's seven other parties will countenance any form of cooperation with the Sweden Democrats.

But with some kind of cooperation between parties in the center-left and center-right blocs the only other alternative to the current political deadlock, analysts believe that Akesson may yet end up with some influence on policy.

The Sweden Democrats are bidding to become the biggest populist party in the Nordic region, topping the Danish People's Party, which gained 21 percent in 2015, and trump the 12.6 percent for the far-right Alternative for Germany, which swept into the Bundestag previous year. "Everything is about us", Akesson said.

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