A fringe party shunned by others across the political spectrum, early results showed the Sweden Democrats took almost 21% of the vote.
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A group of right-wing political parties has taken a razor-thin lead in Sweden’s general election and is on course to defeat Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson’s left-wing coalition, according to early results.
Exit polls on Sunday initially predicted a narrow victory for Andersen’s ruling centre-left Social Democrats and their allies, though the numbers later swung to the political right as partial results were released throughout the evening.
After Approximately 95% With votes counted on Monday morning, the right-wing bloc of four parties led by Ulf Kristerson’s center-right moderates had a total of 175 seats, with the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats on track to record its best election result yet.
Meanwhile, the four parties backing Anderson as prime minister are poised to win 174 seats.
If the results are confirmed, right-wing parties have a parliamentary majority, paving the way for attempts to form a coalition government.
A definitive result is expected by Wednesday, with postal votes and votes from citizens living abroad still to be counted.
A total of eight parties (four on the right; four on the left) compete for seats in Sweden’s 349-seat parliament, or Riksdag.
Early results on Sunday showed the Social Democratic Party with 30.5% of the vote, reconfirming its position as the largest party. However, Andersen may struggle to stay in power as the far-right Sweden Democrats have made significant gains.
Sweden, a Scandinavian country of about 10.5 million people, is one of the most progressive states in Europe. It is consistently ranked among the happiest countries in the world.
Andersson became Sweden’s first female prime minister last year.
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The Sweden Democrats emerged from the country’s neo-Nazi movement in the late 1980s and early 1990s and struggled to distance themselves from accusations of extremism. The party won representation in the Riksdag for the first time in 2010 with 5.7% of the vote.
A gradual increase in national support thereafter prompted the centre-right moderate party to cooperate with the Sweden Democrats in 2018. Kristersson’s moderates have previously ruled out negotiating with the right-wing party.
The moderate party won 19.1% of the vote in Sunday’s preliminary results, with leader Christensen likely to be the right-wing coalition’s preferred candidate for prime minister.
“We don’t know what the outcome will be,” Christerson told supporters. Reuters reported. “But I am ready to do everything in my power to create a new, stable and vigorous government for the whole of Sweden and all its citizens.”
Soni Kapur, a professor of climate and macro-economics at the European University, said via Twitter that early results showed the Sweden Democrats would become the country’s largest party on the political right and could elect the next prime minister.
“It’s a tragedy in many ways,” Kapoor said.
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