Sweden faces complex coalition talks after far-right gains

World

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN – Sweden is expected to face weeks of uncertainty after its mainstream center-left and center-right blocs emerged in a tie during an election on Sunday.

The ruling center-left Social Democrats had 28 percent of the vote, trailed by the Moderates with 19 percent and the nationalist Sweden Democrats with almost 18 percent after most of the votes had been counted.The results were largely in line with the conventional opinion polls as well as some surveys that had been predicted.

“Most 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 op-ed piece.

“We need to be sincerely grateful for that. Sweden is now on steadier grounds than what we could have feared before the election.”

Their success is mainly in relation to rise a in popularity for other far-right parties in Europe against a background of growing anxiety over national identity, the effects of globalization and fears over immigration boosted partly by conflicts in North Africa and the Middle East.

A rise in gang violence in areas of high unemployment has won support for the Sweden Democrats after Sweden had for a number of years seen itself as a “Humanitarian Superpower”.

In 2015, about 163,000 asylum seekers arrived in Sweden. The most recorded in Europe in relation to 10 000 which is the country’s approximate population. The center-left government suspended some of its liberal asylum policies. Most of Europe, has of asylum-seekers, Sweden included.  Most of whom are fleeing mainly from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa.

On Monday, some members from mainstream parties are expected to meet to come with strategies for forming a new government.  However, this could possibly go on for weeks.

“We will gain huge influence over what happens in Sweden during the coming weeks, months and years,” party leader Jimmie Akesson told supporters on Sunday night.

“We have been completely clear during the whole election. The Alliance will not govern or discuss how to form a government with the Sweden Democrats,” he said.

Calls for a new election will be made if after four attempts, parliament fails to agree on a prime minister.

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