It will be very difficult to form a government in Sweden – right-wing parties in the ascendant here too

Swedish politics seldom find themselves in the international spotlight. However, last weekend’s election attracted considerable attention. This was down to one political party in particular: Sverigesdemokraterna (Sweden Democrats, SD). The right-wing populist party has enjoyed great popularity in recent months and there were fears it would manage to breach the 20% mark, thus becoming the second largest power in the Swedish parliament. While this was prevented on the basis of the preliminary election result (the final figures will not be available until Wednesday), the party will still have a significant influence, having won 17.6% of the votes and more than 60 seats in parliament. The SD’s success will make it even more complicated to form a government in Sweden – a process that is already often quite difficult. The large centre-right and centre-left alliances will each take just over 40% of the votes. However, the Social Democrats under acting prime minister Stefan Löfven, which emerged once again as the strongest force, have substantially reduced their lead. Both sides currently have enough seats for a minority government at most. While this is not unusual in Sweden, there are concerns that the SD will use its considerable influence to push through its own agenda wherever possible. With a grand coalition being ruled out, Stefan Löfven will have no other choice but to try and find other alliance partners. Failing this, conservative Ulf Kristersson could be given a chance of success. If the Social Democrats or the Moderaterna are unable to forge a majority coalition government, the only other option would be to form a minority government tolerated by the Sweden Democrats – an option that Kristersson at least is not ruling out completely. The right-wing populist party in Sweden has therefore increased its influence significantly since the election at the weekend. Thus, the trend towards far-right parties is also continuing in a country with a long social-democratic history. This does not bode well for the forthcoming elections in Europe.

 

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