Sweden's nationalist party comes second place in elections

Sweden's nationalist party comes second place in elections

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven invited the center-right opposition Alliance to talks aimed at a "cross-bloc cooperation", after his Social Democrats remained the biggest party with 28.4 percent of votes, its weakest election score in a century.

That could prove fatal for the Alliance, with the Liberal and Centre parties repeatedly ruling out a deal with "the devil", as Akesson occasionally calls himself.

At the head of one of the few left-wing governments in Europe, Lofven's bloc appeared to hold 144 of 349 seats in parliament, one seat more than the Alliance, with votes in 99.8 percent of districts counted.

Supporters of the Sweden Democrats react in jubilation during an election night event in Stockholm on Sunday, after an exit poll showed the anti-immigrant party making gains.

It is not easy to shoehorn the modern Sweden Democrats into the familiar jackboots of the European far right.

In Sweden, an influx of 163,000 asylum seekers in 2015 - the highest in Europe in relation to the country's population of 10 million - has polarised voters and fractured the political consensus.

Although refugee numbers have fallen since then, many voters have been alarmed by lengthening waiting times at hospitals, shortages of doctors and teachers, and failures of the police to get on top of inner-city gang crime. Its showing was not as strong as the one-in-five polls had predicted, but good for a third-place finish that had the party's leader telling supporters, "We won".

"We're now competing against the Social Democrats and Moderates to become the biggest party in the country", he said, dismissing the protesters as "communists". After the vote he said the Alliance "will not govern or discuss how to form a government with the Sweden Democrats" - not ruling out taking power with their unofficial support.

Voter Veronica Lundqvist said the party led by Jimmie Akesson is saying "awful things" about migrants, while Karl Ljung said Sweden has an "integration issue" with migrants that needs solving.

More news: Jose Mourinho suffers embarrassing fall at Wembley while watching England-Spain

The Sweden Democrats, shunned by all the other parties since entering parliament in 2010, have promised to sink any Cabinet that refuses to give them a say in policy, particularly on immigration. "It's not just about what happened two years ago when we had a lot of refugees".

"He who understands first that he can talk to me will have the easiest time building a government and leading this country for the next four years", he said.

The Sweden Democrats: Winners or losers?

Lofven had urged Swedes not to vote for what he called a "racist party" as he cast his ballot Sunday. "That's why the Sweden Democrats are as big as they seem to be", he told CNN in Stockholm.

Prime Minister Lofven, who brought the Social Democrats to power in 2014, said he meant to remain in the job.

Moderates leader Ulf Kristersson meanwhile said that after the election, Sweden would need "a strong cross-bloc cooperation to isolate the forces. pushing for Sweden to withdraw from worldwide cooperation".

When Mattias Karlsson joined the Sweden Democrats in 1999 the party had what could politely be called an image problem.

These results forecast a hard transition period as parties work to form a coalition, which could take weeks.

During a heated debate among party leaders Friday, Akesson caused a stir by blaming migrants for the difficulties they often have in finding employment and not adjusting to Sweden. Le Monde has compiled a number of views from voters in Sweden on the importance of the election, with numerous responses focusing on the Sweden Democrats.

Related Articles