Tough coalition talks ahead as Sweden's far-right gains

Sweden Democrats to boycott public broadcaster following debate controversy

Instead, Sunday's results effectively provided no clear victor and no convenient or simple narrative to explain the shifts underway in Swedish politics.

Dragan Pau, 64, a builder taking a break from renovating a nearby apartment, said he doubted his party, the far-right, anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, had won the influence it had hoped for. His party emerged with the greatest share of the vote - 28.4 percent as the count neared completion - yet is looking at holding fewer seats in parliament than four years ago. They kept Sweden out of World War One, out of World War Two, and out of the Cold War. 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 "Red Green" combination of the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left won 40.6 per cent of the vote and (on preliminary figures) 144 seats. "But despite this, the voters have made the Social Democrats the biggest party", he said to cheers from supporters. "This is the most uncertain result we have had in modern times" and a second election could become a "possible scenario" that investors need to consider, he said. It is obvious, he continued, "that the people in Sweden have realized the real difficulties we are facing".

Swedes yesterday voted in legislative elections, with a far-right surge expected if voters punish traditional parties over their failure to address immigration concerns.

The party's leader Akesson told Swedish public radio on Monday he expected to wield major influence but said he was "willing to compromise". The opposition parties that make up the so-called Alliance bloc had 39.6 per cent, while the Sweden Democrats garnered 19.2 per cent.

Marine Le Pen of France's far-right National Rally - formerly known as the National Front - hailed the Swedish party's rise, tweeting: "Yet another bad night ahead for the European Union".

Sweden took in more asylum seekers per capita than any other country in Europe in 2015, magnifying worries about a welfare system that many voters already believe is in crisis.

Even with a third place, the Sweden Democrats is in a position to shake things up in the upcoming negotiations. 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. That showing is not strong enough for it to lead a government, but it reflects how deeply that Sweden, famous for its progressive policies, is being transformed by migration. And this wasn't just campaign speak.

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The Greens came close to Sweden's four percent threshold for representation in the parliament, with just 4.3 percent of the votes, while the Left party had a very good result, scoring 7.9 percent.

Dr Ben Wellings, a senior lecturer in politics and global relations at Monash University, told SBS News the result was "part of an emerging picture [in Europe] where support for radical right parties is creeping upwards". It was formed in 2004 to counter decades of dominance by the Social Democrats.

"The most likely situation will be that the Alliance will form a coalition together and try to seek cross-bloc support", Ahlin added.

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".

With almost all votes counted on Monday, the ruling center-left Social Democrats and Greens and their Left Party parliamentary ally had 40.6 percent of the vote, while the opposition center-right Alliance was on 40.3 percent.

A new election will be called if parliament doesn't agree on a prime minister after four attempts. They'll "have to face the facts", Andersson said.

The party with roots in the neo-Nazi movement has called the arrival of nearly 400,000 asylum seekers since 2012 a threat to Swedish culture, and claims they are straining Sweden's generous welfare state.

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