Published: Mon, September 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Sweden Democrats second largest in elections

Sweden Democrats second largest in elections

Claiming a kingmaker role for this party, Jimmie Åkesson, leader of the Sweden Democrats, said in a speech at his campaign headquarters that his party will now have "influence over Swedish politics".

With more than four-fifths of ballots counted, Sweden's national election commission reported the governing Social Democrats had 28.1 percent of the vote, making it likely to lose a significant number of seats despite emerging with the most support.

The poll showed that the far-right, anti-immigration Sweden Democrats - led by Jimmie Akesson - would get 19.1 per cent of the votes in what would be a major increase compared to the 13 per cent support received in 2014.

Sunday's results make it unlikely that any party will have a majority of the 175 seats in the Riksdagen, Sweden's parliament.

The new government, which could now take weeks to form, will need either cross-bloc alliances between centre-right and centre-left parties, or an accommodation with the Sweden Democrats, long shunned by all the other parties due to their extremist roots, to pass legislation - potentially giving the populists a say in policy.

Sunday's election was the first since the Swedish government in 2015 allowed 163,000 migrants into the Scandinavian country with a population of 10 million.

The record levels of asylum seekers in 2015 magnified worries about a welfare system that many voters already believe is in crisis, even though refugee numbers have fallen sharply since then.

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 often antagonistic campaign was largely dominated by themes of immigration, integration and welfare, with the Sweden Democrats repeatedly presenting the vote as a straight choice between immigration and welfare spending.

More news: Steelers teammates turn on Le'Veon Bell: 'He f--ked us'

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

Such an outcome could weaken the Swedish crown in the short term, but analysts do not see any long-term effect on markets from the election because economic growth is strong, government coffers are well stocked and there is broad agreement about the thrust of economic policy.

The Alliance opposition bloc, composed of the Moderates, the Christian Democrats, the Centre party and the Liberals, looked set to win 40.1 percent.

Akesson responded that state television shouldn't take sides, and later announced that he wouldn't take part in any of SVT's election programmes on Sunday.

The center-right Moderates have become especially tough on immigration, echoing numerous positions of the Sweden Democrats.

"But it will not happen in cooperation with the Sweden Democrats".

Sabina Macri, voting in central Stockholm, said the current political situation has left her questioning her future in Sweden. "What will happen to me if they enter government or gain influence", asked Mohammad, an 18-year-old Afghan refugee who spoke flawless Swedish when interviewed by AFP.

"I'm afraid we're becoming a society that is more hostile to foreigners". "Everything is about us", Akesson said.

Like this: