With no clear winner, Sweden in limbo after vote

Sweden awoke Monday to the prospect of weeks of political uncertainty after neither of the countrys blocs secured a clear governing majority in an election, though it was clear that a populist anti-immigration party surged to become the countrys second largest political force.With more than 94 of the ballots counted, the center-right opposition that includes the populist Sweden Democrats, had a razor-thin edge over the governing Social Democrats and their allies in the center-left bloc.The left bloc is headed by Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, who has not resigned.


PTI | Stockholm | Updated: 12-09-2022 14:52 IST | Created: 12-09-2022 14:45 IST
With no clear winner, Sweden in limbo after vote
Representative image Image Credit: pxfuel
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Sweden awoke Monday to the prospect of weeks of political uncertainty after neither of the country's blocs secured a clear governing majority in an election, though it was clear that a populist anti-immigration party surged to become the country's second largest political force.

With more than 94% of the ballots counted, the center-right opposition that includes the populist Sweden Democrats, had a razor-thin edge over the governing Social Democrats and their allies in the center-left bloc.

The left bloc is headed by Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, who has not resigned. The result was so close that the election authority said a definitive outcome would not be known before Wednesday, when the uncounted votes, including those cast abroad, have been tallied. With eight parties contending for seats, none will secure a majority of 175 seats in the 349-seat Riksdag, Sweden's parliament, meaning that laws can only be passed with different parties working together "It is extremely close. Things can change but I doubt," said Zeth Isaksson, a sociologist at Stockholm University. "As it is now, it is more likely that the right side will win." Votes abroad are traditionally conservative, meaning that the still-uncounted votes are unlikely to swing the momentum back to the left, according to Isaksson.

The biggest winner of the evening was undoubtedly the populist anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, which had a strong showing of nearly 21%, its best result ever. The party gained on promises to crack down on shootings and other gang violence that have shaken a sense of security for many in Sweden.

The party has its roots in the white nationalist movement but years ago began expelling extremists. Despite its rebranding, voters long viewed it as unacceptable and other parties shunned it. But that has been changing, and its result in this election shows just how far it has come in gaining acceptance.

The Social Democrats, who have been in power in Sweden since 2014, remain the largest party, even gaining slightly over four years ago to get 30.5% of the vote. Andersson said it was obvious that the social democratic movement, which is based on ideals of creating an equal society and a strong welfare state, remains strong in Sweden. The Sweden Democrats wants to be part of a government, but this is unlikely to happen because there are parties in the center-right bloc that oppose it, Isaksson said. Still, the party will have "a very strong leverage'' and push for some of its issues, like tightening immigration laws. According to Isaksson, the Sweden Democrats may end up outside a government but as supporters of it.

Isaksson also ruled out a governing coalition combining the center-right Moderates which have been leading the center-right bloc, and the Social Democrats. The Moderates dropped to become Sweden's third largest party and won 19%, based on the incomplete vote tally. However, party leader Ulf Kristersson on Monday appeared to be the most likely candidate to be the next prime minister. He told his supporters on election night that he stands ready to try to create a stable and effective government.

However, Sweden is likely to face a lengthy process to form a government, as it did after the 2018 election.

Andersson, a 55-year-old economist, became Sweden's first female prime minister less than a year ago and led Sweden's historic bid to join NATO following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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