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Swedish election: Right-wing parties inching ahead

STOCKHOLM, Sweden –

Sweden’s far-right bloc entered the narrowest lead with about three-quarters of the votes counted after Sunday’s general election, with results pointing to a new government after eight years of Democratic rule. Society.

The figures show the moderates, the Swedish Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Liberals winning 175 seats in the 349-seat parliament compared with 174 for the centre-left.

In other evidence of a shift to the far right, the anti-immigration Swedish Democrats will overtake the moderates as Sweden’s second-largest party and the largest of the opposition – a change change history in a country that has long prided itself on tolerance and openness.

“Now, for the first time, we have a real opportunity, a real ability to…become, not just an opposition party, but be involved and be an active part of one. The new government takes politics in a whole new direction,” Swedish Democratic Party Secretary Richard Jomshof told public broadcaster SVT.

With some overseas votes and some postal ballots still uncounted and the gap between the two thin blocks, the results are still subject to change and may not be clear until midweek.

Earlier, a survey of the withdrawal of the public broadcaster SVT gave Andersson’s center-left bloc 49.8% of the vote against 49.2% for the opposition right-wing parties.

Opinion polls have shown the race as a virtual heat to death throughout much of the campaign, and exit polls may differ from the final outcome. A TV4 poll on election day also showed the center-left with a narrow lead. Read full story

The campaign has seen parties battle what has become the toughest battle for gang crime, after a steady rise in mass shootings spooked voters, while inflation spiked. and the energy crisis following the invasion of Ukraine became increasingly central.

SVT’s exit poll shows Jimmie Akesson’s Swedish Democrat demanding an almost zero cut in refugee immigration, with 20.5% of the vote, up from 17.5 % at the previous election.

While law and order issues are the home turf for rights, gathering economic clouds as households and companies face sky-high electricity prices has been cited as the driving force behind the Prime Minister. General Magdalena Andersson, is considered a safe hand and is more popular than her party.

“I voted for a Sweden where we continue to play to our strengths. Our ability to solve society’s problems together, form a sense of community and respect each other. “, Andersson said after voting in the suburbs of Stockholm.

Andersson served as finance minister for many years before becoming Sweden’s first female prime minister a year ago. Her main rival, the leader of the Moderates, Ulf Kristersson, has claimed to be the only candidate who can unify the rights and unseat her.

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Kristersson has spent years deepening ties with the Swedish Democratic Party, an anti-immigrant party with white supremacists among its founders. Initially shunned by all other parties, the Swedish Democrats became increasingly part of the right wing.

The prospect of the Swedish Democrats having a say in government policy or joining a cabinet has divided voters.

Malin Ericsson, 53, a travel consultant, said earlier on Sunday at a polling station in central Stockholm, “I am very afraid a repressive, far-right government is coming.”

The strong results of the Swedish Democrats fit a pattern of interests for the anti-immigration right across Europe, where Italy looks poised to elect a conservative bloc that includes Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (FdI). and the Matteo Salvini League later this month.

“I voted for a change of power,” Jorgen Hellstrom 47, a small business owner, said as he cast his ballot near parliament. “Taxes need to go down a bit and we need to get rid of crime. The past eight years have gone in the wrong direction.”

Kristersson has said he would seek to form a government with the small Christian Democrats and, possibly, the Liberals, and rely solely on the support of the Swedish Democrats in parliament. But he can hardly give up on a party set to be bigger than his own.

Regardless of which bloc wins, negotiations to form a government amid polarized and emotional politics are likely to be lengthy and difficult.

Andersson will need support from the Center Party and the Left, the ideological opposition, and the Green Party, if she wants a second term as prime minister.


(Additional reporting by Janis Laizans, Isabella Ronca, Terje Solsvik and Anna Ringstrom, Editing by William Maclean, Elaine Hardcastle, Catherine Evans and Diane Craft)

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