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Sweden joins populist Europe

After all votes were counted on Sunday in the Swedish parliamentary elections no party bloc can claim victory. The far right anti-immigration and anti-EU party Sweden Democrats increased its share of the votes to 17,5 % (62 mandates). This was less than the 20 % foreseen in the polls but still makes any new government depending on their support unless the centre-right and centre-left blocks can agree on governing or supporting each-other across the lines.

The Red-Green block received 40,7 % (144 mandates) of the votes against 40,2 % for the Alliance (143 mandates). The Swedish Parliament, Riksdagen, has 349 seats.

The current minority government, however, is composed of the Social Democrats and the Environmental party which together lost 5,2 percentage points.

The third member of the Red-Green block, the Leftist Party, which increaed its share of the votes to 8 %, has been acting as a support party without being allowed to take part in the government.

The bourgeois Alliance of four parties increased slightly slightly its share of the votes but its biggest party, the Moderates, lost 3,5 percentage points or 14 mandates.

The parliamentary situation is thus complicated and the first test will take place next Monday with the election of the new speaker of the Parliament who will have a crucial role in inviting a party leader to form a government.

The current Prime Minister Stefan Löfven claims that he should continue with the job since his party is still the biggest party. Whether he has enough support to govern, without being depending on the Sweden Democrats, is unclear.

But Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Moderates, threatens to vote against Löfven at the opening of the Parliament next Tuesday if he does not resign.

Contrary to the situation in the neigbouring Nordic countries, where far-right parties have been included in the governments, Sweden has until now managed to keep the Sweden Democrats outside.

The Swedish concensus on neutralising them might be broken now. In the elections, almost all other parties adopted some of its rethoric on immigrant policy.

M. Apelblat
The Brussels Times