Swedish election: Nationalists 'make gains' in early exit polls

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"We're now competing against the Social Democrats and Moderates to become the biggest party in the country", he said, dismissing the protesters as "communists".

Ever since, however, the tide has turned again, and Europe's drift to the right, coupled with the ongoing demise of center-left parties, has continued.

However, others say the Sweden Democrats are trying to fix a historical problem.

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

So - why won't the Sweden Democrats form a coalition Government? 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.

Jimmie Åkesson, leader of the Sweden Democrats has later said: "I won't give any coalitions my party's support if they won't give us any power to influence policies after the Government is formed".

The latest opinion poll conducted by pollster Novus for public broadcaster SVT suggested Friday that Lofven's ruling Social Democrats would lose a substantial number of seats, but emerge with about one-fourth of the vote - the most support predicted for any party.

The Swedish election results are in, and the widely vilified Sweden Democrats have made a good showing-though not as good as the Swedish (and European) establishment feared.

The Swedish prime minister has rejected calls to resign and said that "nothing will be determined" on an election night that has seen no clear victor emerge after major gains for an anti-immigration party.

With neither main political 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 that look set to be complex and drawn-out. As for Sweden Democrats' warning of the "Islamization" of Sweden, the average Swede vastly overestimates the percentage of the population that is Muslim. Meanwhile, next-door in Finland, the populist True Finns party was included in the center-right government in 2016.

The far-right Sweden Democrats took 17.6 percent of the vote Sunday, finishing third.

Ahead of the election, promising prospects for the Sweden Democrats had many Swedes anxious about an erosion of the humanitarian values that have always been a foundation of their country's identity.

"The Alliance will not govern or discuss how to form a government with the Sweden Democrats".

Sweden's centre-left governing bloc is neck-and-neck with the centre-right opposition alliance in the country's general elections, according to official results, which also showed gains for an anti-immigration party that has its roots in the neo-Nazi movement. Sweden's is one of Europe's few remaining left-wing governments and the country has taken in hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers since its last election. The majority mark in the 349-seat parliament is 175 seats. No other party will consider the anti-migrant hard-right group in any form of coalition.

"Terrible! I just wanna cry when I think about it", said Veronica Lundqvist, referring to the Sweden Democrats after she left a voting booth in central Stockholm. Voters on Sunday did not doubt the Nordic welfare model, but many hesitate to let more immigrants without similar cultural traits share the system.

Rather than copying the far-right's emotional appeals toward identity and its criticism of the state, mainstream parties should offer voters fresh alternatives, Berman said.

Mr. Akesson challenged Mr. Kristersson to choose between seeking support from the Sweden Democrats for an Alliance government or accepting four more years of Mr. Lofven as prime minister. If he loses that, the speaker of parliament presents a new candidate to become prime minister.

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