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

Note: The Left (V) is treated as part of the broad Red-Green bloc, but it is not part of the incumbent Social Democrat/Green Party government.

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 previous year.

The run-up to the election has been dominated by concerns over immigration and crime, with huge numbers of people having moved to the country in recent years.

The far-right wants to curb immigration and has called for Sweden to leave the EU.

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

Traditionally Sweden have only had two blocs fighting for their right to govern.

The SD, widely tipped to make gains in the election, won about 18 percent support, jumping almost five percentage points since the last elections four years ago.

"In some sense we're happy the Sweden Democrats didn't grow more than they did", Liberal Party lawmaker Allan Widman told Reuters. While the Social Democrats initially welcomed immigrants with open arms, party officials have recently hinted at support for restricting immigration.

Sweden's national election commission says an updated preliminary result is expected Wednesday that will include votes from overseas and early votes.

Sky's Michelle Clifford, who is reporting from the Sweden Democrats' election party, said: "They have done well, but the aspirations from the polls was that they would be the second largest, but that doesn't seem so".

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven of the Social Democratic Party talks to media in Stockholm, on September 9, 2018.

Sweden Election
Stefan Lofven arrives with his wife Ulla to cast their votes in Stockholm

Sweden faced political deadlock on Monday after the far-right made gains in legislative elections whose result makes it tough to form a functioning government. As for Sweden Democrats' warning of the "Islamization" of Sweden, the average Swede vastly overestimates the percentage of the population that is Muslim.

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.

At any rate, he said, it was time for Sweden's political parties to bring an end to their refusal to negotiate and form deals with the Sweden Democrats.

The other of the two blocs that have defined Swedish politics for a decade, the four-party center-right Alliance coalition, trailed close behind on 38.5 percent. Another impressive feat is that although the party was founded only 30 years ago and had roots in the country's fascist and white nationalist movements, it still managed to triple its support in just two election cycles. Some critics say that these situations also compel mainstream parties to pander toward the fringes - a criticism that certainly has emerged about Rutte.

The left-wing coalition, which includes the ruling Social Democrats, received the most votes, securing 40.6 percent. Most notably, he's been an outspoken critic of the rising number of immigrants in Sweden.

The far-right Sweden Democrats solidified their position as third-biggest party and kingmaker, albeit with a lower score than they had expected.

"It's not that they are shy voters, but that they are distrustful of the polling agencies", said Henrik Ekengren Oscarsson, a professor in political science at Gothenburg University.

Akesson had labelled the vote a choice between immigration and welfare in a campaign that was unusually antagonistic.

Marine Le Pen, leader of France's far-right euroskeptic National Rally, said on Twitter: "Another bad night for the European Union in perspective".

The prime minister must choose between: risking losing core voters by dealing with the party he calls racist; and bargaining, for the sake of his career.


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