Sweden joins Europe's move to right over migration backlash

Sweden joins Europe's move to right over migration backlash

Sweden joins Europe's move to right over migration backlash

"This government we have had now. they have prioritized, during these four years, asylum-seekers", Akesson said, giving an exhaustive list of things he says the government has failed to do for Swedish society because of migrants.

It would also make them the biggest populist party in the Nordic region, topping the Danish People's Party, which gained 21 per cent in 2015, and would trump the 12.6 per cent for the far-right Alternative for Germany, which swept into the Bundestag a year ago.

To avoid that situation, Kristersson appears to favour some form of broad cross-bloc cooperation with the Social Democrats. During this election, almost all of Sweden's major political parties-including the Social Democrats and the Moderates-agreed that Sweden should massively reduce migrant arrivals until a Europewide immigration and refugee policy could be reached.

The preliminary results suggest the Sweden Democrats have fallen short of expectation and that voters have not been as receptive to their anti-immigration rhetoric as it may have seemed.

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.

With one major caveat: the Centre and Liberals are members of the Alliance, together with the Moderates and Christian Democrats.

"Now we will gain influence in Swedish politics for real", Sweden Democrat Jimmie Akesson told a cheering crowd of supporters as the results came in.

The current coalition, headed by outgoing PM Stefan Lofven, is made up of his Social Democrats and the Green Party, and is supported in parliament by the Left Party.

Around 7.5 million Swedes were eligible to cast a ballot in the vote, with final results expected to be announced before midnight (22:00 GMT). Both the left-leaning bloc led by the Social Democrats and the centre-right bloc have said they would refuse to consider the Sweden Democrats as a potential coalition partner.

With neither main bloc able to command a majority, the Sweden Democrats - who want the country to leave the European Union and put a freeze on immigration - could play a decisive role in negotiations over forming a government. "We don't know who will form the next government, we will probably not know tomorrow, next week or next month", Wolodarski told Al Jazeera.

The centre-right Moderate Party is set to take to take third place with 17.7 per cent.

Sweden's Social Democrats have been the largest party in the Riksdag for more than 100 years.

The right-wing populists have dictated the agenda and the established parties (except for the Left Party, the Greens, to some extent the centre-right Centre and the Social Democrats) have bought into their description of the state of Sweden and adjusted their political proposals thereafter. One no longer defines oneself as a social democrat so much as votes for the party based on contextual factors.

Like many mainstream conservative parties today, the Sweden Democrats position themselves as anti-immigration but not anti-immigrant.

If Lofven doesn't resign, he faces a confidence vote in parliament two weeks after the election. In most other countries, these parties were swept away by the tides of history. Emilia Orpana said she and another party supporter were threatened by two young men who called them 'damned racists'.

But a grand coalition would have to involve at least three parties, making for a painful coalition negotiation. Most notably, he's been an outspoken critic of the rising number of immigrants in Sweden.

Immigration has been a central issue of the campaign. Such a government is already in place in Denmark, where the center-right Venstre is in government with the backing of the further right Danish People's Party.

Responding to the call, Mr Lofven said he would continue to "calmly work" in his role over the next two weeks (when parliament opens), but acknowledged the election "should be the funeral for bloc politics".

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