Sweden faces political impasse

Sweden faces a political impasse after its mainstream Centre-Left and Centre-Right blocs virtually tied in an election on Sunday, while the far-Right - which neither wants to deal with - made gains on a hardline anti-immigration platform.

By TT Bureau in Stockholm
  • Published 11.09.18
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Swedes walk past election posters near the parliament in Stockholm. (Reuters)

Stockholm: Sweden faces a political impasse after its mainstream Centre-Left and Centre-Right blocs virtually tied in an election on Sunday, while the far-Right - which neither wants to deal with - made gains on a hardline anti-immigration platform.

With nearly all votes counted on Monday, the ruling Centre-Left Social Democrats and Greens and their Left Party parliamentary ally had 40.6 percent of the vote, while the Opposition Centre-Right Alliance was on 40.3 per cent.

That translates into a single-seat advantage in the 349-member Riksdag.

The Sweden Democrats, a party with white supremacist roots, won 17.6 per cent, about 5 percentage points more than four years ago.

It was the biggest gain of any party and in line with conventional opinion polls but fell short of the 20-30 per cent their leader Jimmie Akesson had predicted.

"Most signs pointed towards the Sweden Democrats taking over the position as the second-biggest party in Sweden. But the expected ... bang did not happen," the liberal Expressen daily said in an opinion piece. "Sweden is now on steadier grounds than what we could have feared before the election."

Many online surveys, which in the last election had gauged the Sweden Democrats' vote better than conventional polls, had signalled they could dethrone the Social Democrats as the nation's biggest party - a position the Centre-Left has held for a century.

In the end, the Sweden Democrats were beaten by Prime Minister Stefan Lofven's Social Democrats by a 10 percentage point margin. Reuters

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