Sweden's nationalist party comes second place in elections

Sweden's nationalist party comes second place in elections

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.

Vote: Jimmie Akesson, leader of Sweden Democrats party, seals his ballot at a polling station in Stockholm yesterday. In the immediate aftermath of the result, many reactions therefore focused on whether the result was a breakthrough for the party, or whether it should rank as a disappointment given some polls during the campaign had put the Sweden Democrats as high as 25% of the vote, in first place ahead of the Social Democrats.

He had hoped to gain the support of one in five, or even one in four, Swedes, which some polls had also predicted.

Other European countries have seen support rise for anti-immigration parties in recent years.

"This government has run its course..."

It would also make them the biggest populist party in the Nordic region, topping the Danish People's Party, which gained 21 per cent in 2015, and would trump the 12.6 per cent for the far-right Alternative for Germany, which swept into the Bundestag past year.

Both sides laid claim to being best placed to form a government, although votes from Swedes living overseas are not due to be declared until Wednesday and these could still sway the final outcome slightly.

Today's governing Social Democratic Party, in power throughout World War Two, openly cooperated with Nazi Germany, supplying Hitler with the iron ore he needed to build Germany's tanks and guns.

The Alliance of the Moderates, Centre, Liberals and Christian Democrats looks set to be slightly smaller than the centre-left.

In the end, the Sweden Democrats were beaten by Prime Minister Stefan Lofven's Social Democrats by a 10 percentage point margin and eclipsed also by the Moderates of Ulf Kristersson, the Alliance's candidate for the premiership. One option could be for one of the parties to switch alliances.

"We have two weeks left until parliament opens. But I do think it's become too heated in this election".

Leaders of the four centre-right Alliance parties will meet on Monday with the goal of forming a new government, but without support from the Sweden Democrats they do not have a majority.

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Leader of the Sweden Democrats Jimmie Åkesson had boasted his party would take more than 20% of the vote but still told a party rally the result was a victory.

The Social Democratic party, Sweden's largest party whose ideals have dominated Swedish politics for most of the last 100 years, got their weakest result since 1908.

If Lofven doesn't resign, he faces a confidence vote in parliament two weeks after the election.

If he is forced to stand down, parliament would be dissolved and fresh coalition attempts would start in September.

Mr Akesson had labelled the vote a choice between immigration and welfare in a campaign that was unusually antagonistic. He, like all of the other parties, has categorically ruled out any cooperation with the far-right.

It has been working to rebrand itself, changing its logo from a flaming torch (similar to the one used by the United Kingdom far-right National Front) to a blue-and-yellow daisy, the colours of the Swedish flag. "We used to be a very calm nation", she said.

And while the exact outcome remains uncertain, he said the one certainty was Sweden's migration policies will now be reassessed.

The move has polarised voters and fractured the long-standing political consensus.

Sweden's traditional parties have since hardened their tone to reflect concerns about integration.

The election also touched on the future of Sweden's generous welfare state, as voters searched for the best way to secure it in coming decades. The SD links a rise in shootings to increased immigration, although official figures show no correlation.

The SD wants to freeze immigration, leave the European Union, crack down on crime and are climate change sceptics. Members of Sweden's more established parties worry that such rhetoric could get worse. Support for the Green party, which had been struggling after various internal scandals, has crept up across the country.

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