In Brief

Swedish election results in deadlock after gains by far-right party

Anti-immigration Sweden Democrats poised to play a role in new government

Sweden is heading for a hung parliament after a general election yesterday saw the country’s two major political parties fall short of being able to form a government, while the far-right anti-immigration party surged to third.

The governing centre-left coalition maintained a very slim lead over its centre-right Alliance rivals, with both blocs winning about 40% of the vote.

The nationalist Sweden Democrats party won about 18% of the vote, up from 12.9% at the last election, but well short of the 25% that some polls had predicted the party might have been able to win.

The result will mean that a “protracted battle to form a working coalition now looks a certainty”, the BBC says, with any deal requiring cross-bloc support from several of the minor parties in each of the existing coalitions.

The leaders of both of the major coalitions have so far ruled out forming a government with the Sweden Democrats over that party’s historical links to neo-Nazis and other far-right groups.

“The Sweden Democrats can never, and will never, offer anything that will help society. They will only increase division and hate,” Swedish prime minister Stefan Lofven said.

However, Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson (pictured above) has told supporters that the result represents a victory for his party.

“We strengthen our kingmaker role. We will have an immense influence over what happens in Sweden in the coming weeks, months, year,” Akesson said.

The Guardian says the “often antagonistic” campaign was dominated by issues including immigration, integration and welfare.

It was the first election to be held by Sweden since the controversial decision to allow 163,000 migrants into the country in 2015; a move that many believe has put pressure on the country’s welfare system and vital services.

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