In the legislative elections in Sweden on Sunday, the centre-left alliance is ahead with 40.6 percent, according to early results, and the centre-right have taken 40.3 percent. While the extreme right has improved on its previous results, it failed to capture more than 20 percent of the vote as had been predicted before the elections, taking 17.6 of the ballot.
This gives the left-wing coalition, consisting of the ruling Social Democratic Party, the Greens and the Left Party, 144 of the 349 seats in Parliament. The right-wing alliance won 142. Sweden Democrats achieved the largest gain among the parties, with 63 seats, up from 49 previously.
Following the announcement of the results Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said “One thing is certain, no one has a majority, so it is natural to launch a collaboration between the blocs.”
Löfven has rejected calls for his resignation after leading his party to its worst electoral results for a century.
The leader of Sweden Democrats, Jimmie Åkesson said he was ready to discuss with all the other parties, especially with the centre-right. “We will have a great influence on what will happen in Sweden in the weeks, months and years to come,” he said at a rally of his supporters.
It is unlikely, however, that the Sweden Democrats will enter government as mainstream politicians on the right and left have ruled out working with the party.
“The Sweden Democrats can never, and will never, offer anything that will help society. They will only increase division and hate,” said the prime minister in a speech after the election.
A country of 10 million inhabitants, Sweden has welcomed 400,000 immigrants since 2012, first under the center-right government of Fredrik Reinfeldt, and then the center-left government of Stefan Löfven. Away from the larger cities, which are hotbeds of growth and innovation, more and more voters have been seduced by the anti-immigrant policies of the Sweden Democrats.
The post of prime minister is expected to be disputed between Stefan Löfven and conservative leader Ulf Kristersson.