Conservatives lead polls in Sweden

Skane County Administrative Board workers count the votes in Malmö, southern Sweden, on September 12, 2022, a day after the general election. [Photo/Agencies]

In preliminary tally, ruling left bloc loses ground as change looms

Sweden’s weekend election count took a dramatic turn on Monday morning when a right-wing coalition took a narrow lead over a left-wing coalition led by the ruling Social Democratic Party.

Exit polls late Sunday evening had indicated a slight lead for the left-wing coalition, with 49.8% of the vote against 49.2% for the right-wing alliance.

But Monday morning’s results showed the right-wing coalition expected to win 176 of 349 seats in parliament, with left-wing parties taking 173 seats.

Election results too close to the call will not be announced until Wednesday at the earliest, when postal and advance ballots are all counted, according to Sweden’s electoral authority.

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson’s Social Democratic Party, in power for eight years and dominating Sweden’s political scene since the 1930s, is still the largest single party, winning 30.5% of the vote so far. But his left-wing four-party coalition failed to win enough seats in parliament, known as the Riksdag, to form a government.

By contrast, the Swedish Democrats, a right-wing populist party led by Jimmie Akesson, emerged victorious with nearly 21% of the vote, putting them on track to become the second largest party in parliament. Akesson’s party has overtaken the traditional conservative opposition, the Moderate Party, which has only won 19% of the vote so far.

Sweden’s Democrats, known for their anti-immigration stance, won just 5.7% of the vote in 2010 when the party entered parliament, but its share rose to 17.5% in 2018.

Akesson indicated that he would not become the new Prime Minister but that his party would be part of the government. Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson is expected to take the top job. “Right now it looks like there will be a power shift. Our ambition is to sit in government,” Akesson told supporters on Sunday.

The Swedish Democrats have been described as having their roots in white nationalism.

“We don’t know what the outcome will be. But I am ready to do everything possible to form a stable and strong new government for all of Sweden and all of its citizens,” Kristersson told supporters at a rally.

Growing concerns about gang-related shootings, immigration and integration issues, soaring electricity prices and high inflation were the main issues in the election.

Expected end result

“The final result is expected on Wednesday, then the official processes can begin. But it won’t be easy or quick,” Carl Bildt, a former Swedish prime minister and former leader of the Moderate Party, said in a tweet on Monday. referring to the formation of a new government under Kristersson.

On Monday, Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, the director of the European Center for International Political Economy who once served in the Swedish Foreign Ministry, told China Daily: “The Swedish Democrats have become the second largest party and have overtaken the bloc traditional conservative, which is leading Sweden down a path we have seen in Austria, Italy and Poland: a weak right-wing opposition that opens up to a parliamentary alliance with the far right is sooner or later replaced by the newcomers.”

Right-wing parties have recently gained ground with their anti-immigration policies in Europe. In the French presidential election in April, anti-immigration candidate Marine Le Pen lost to Emmanuel Macron by a much narrower margin than in the 2017 election.

Ding Chun, director of the Center for European Studies at Fudan University, said the ascendancy of right-wing influence in Europe reflects the negative impact of globalization. “The growing problem of people’s livelihoods and people’s dissatisfaction, especially in advanced member states, with EU coordination on related issues means people are looking to protect themselves,” he said. he declares.

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