Sweden: Exit poll projects mixed voter message in election

Leroy Wright
September 10, 2018

However, Swedish broadcaster SVT said its poll from Sunday's election indicates that the centre-left Social Democrats governing Sweden now would remain the largest party in parliament.

Swedes went to the polls on Sunday and although it will take some time for a ruling coalition to emerge, the biggest immediate victor appears to be the party that won't form a government.

The Swedish center-left bloc holds a slim lead over the center-right ahead of Sunday's national election, a survey showed, but both are short of a majority and the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats could yet emerge as the largest single party.

In Sweden, an influx of 163,000 asylum seekers in 2015 - the most in Europe relative to the country's population of 10 million - has polarised voters and fractured the political consensus. About 6,300 candidates sought the four-year terms.

The results point to a deeply uncertain future, and analysts predicted a protracted period of horse-trading to form a coalition government.

"We are going to gain real influence over Swedish politics", Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson told cheering supporters at an election night party. Polls have opened in Sweden's general election in what is expected to be one of the most unpredictable and thrilling political races in Scandinavian country for decades amid heated discussion around top issue immigration.

In Sweden, the speaker of parliament typically consults all party leaders after an election before tasking the one most likely to succeed at forming a government.

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

Like other far-right parties in Europe, the Sweden Democrats worked to soften its neo-Nazi image in the lead-up to the election.

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Once a nation that welcomed refugees in high numbers, anti-migration sentiment started to creep into public discourse in 2015, when Sweden took in more than 160,000 asylum seekers.

At the party's rally on Saturday, he strongly criticised Mr Lofven's government for "prioritising" the cause of immigrants over the needs of citizens.

"But it will not happen in cooperation with the Sweden Democrats". This would mean that migrants won't be able to stay unless they can prove that they can support themselves, enabling them to get a permanent residence permit.

But the two blocs have never governed in tandem, and so far all other parties have shunned the Sweden Democrats.

In this photo taken on August 31, 2018 Sweden Democrats party leader Jimmie Akesson gives a speech as he campaigns in Landskrona, southern Sweden, on August 31, 2018.

"I'm afraid we're becoming a society that is more hostile to foreigners". "We used to be a very calm nation", she said.

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 past year.

"It would send a big "go to hell" message to me and my kind", said Stefan Jovanovic, 26, a music business manager with roots in Serbia.

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