Sweden faces weeks of uncertainty after close election


The latest opinion poll conducted by pollster Novus for public broadcaster SVT suggested Friday that Lofven's ruling Social Democrats would lose a substantial number of seats, but emerge with about one-fourth of the vote - the most support predicted for any party. "And the Social Democrats and a Social Democratic-led government is a guarantee for not letting the Sweden Democrats extremist party, racist party, get any influence in the government".

Earlier, the leader of the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats, Jimmie Akesson, indicated he was ready for potential coalition talks, but challenged Kristersson to choose between seeking support from his party and PM's Social Democrats.

And while the exact outcome remains uncertain, he said the one certainty was Sweden's migration policies will now be reassessed. He has categorically ruled out any cooperation with the far-right.

Just 30,000 votes separated the two blocs.

Given this backdrop, Dr Wellings said he was actually surprised the Sweden Democrats did not capture even more of the vote.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has invited the opposition to talks aimed at a "cross-bloc cooperation", after his left-wing party failed to gain majority in Sunday's elections that saw anti-immigrant party making gains.

The influence of the far right is being increasingly noticed in Sweden as security and immigration top the agenda. He said his party had "won" the elections because of its gain in seats. "I think that it shows that people are disappointed with how the country is run, and they are rooting for something, they want something different, but it's not necessarily the best kind of different", he said of the far right's rise.

Senior figures in the mainstream parties were expected to meet later on Monday to begin producing a strategy for forming a government.

However, the unaligned far-right Sweden Democrats gained 17.6% of the vote, up from 12.9% in the previous 2014 elections.

The parliamentary election being held on Sunday (today) will be Sweden's first since the government in 2015 allowed 163,000 migrants into the country of 10 million.

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An exit poll is projecting that almost one in five Swedish voters backed an anti-immigrant party with white supremacist roots in the Scandinavian country's election.

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

Ranging at about 16-19 percent in the traditional polls based on phone calls, the nationalists score as high as 25 percent in some online surveys, which have often been seen as at greater risk of being skewed.

The coalition blocs that each party leads were neck-and-neck with each other, leaving the ultimate result in doubt and raising the possibility the center-right group might seek to seize power with support from the Sweden Democrats. It's more that we have had an integration issue for maybe 20 years.

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. "We used to be a very calm nation", she said.

That is well short of the 175 needed for a majority.

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

The opposition is intent on ousting Lofven, with some Moderates willing to go so far as to put an end to Sweden Demorats' pariah status and open negotiations with them.

Separately, Swedish tabloid Expressen interviewed a representative of the right-wing Sweden Democrats.