The Social Democratic Party wins the elections in Sweden | International
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The Social Democratic Party has won the parliamentary elections this Sunday in Sweden with around 30% of the vote. The formation of Magdalena Andersson, the prime minister, will achieve almost a third of the 349 seats at stake, and the bloc that it forms together with leftists, environmentalists and centrists, will add around 50% of the support and will have a majority in the Riksdag (Parliament ), according to two exit polls. The right-wing bloc would obtain just over 48% of the vote, according to these polls. With 50% of the vote counted, the Social Democratic victory is guaranteed, but both blocs are tied with just over 49% of the vote.
If the exit polls are confirmed, the margin between the left and right parties would be a maximum of three deputies. In different cities of the country, the queues to exercise the vote have been more than two hours, reason why some voters have gone to a polling station other than the one assigned to them. Those votes, together with those deposited abroad, will not be counted until Wednesday. The very tight result can keep the country in suspense until the final results are announced in a few days.
Sweden Democrats (DS), a formation with neo-Nazi roots that entered Parliament for the first time in 2010, has been the second most voted option and will obtain around 20% of the support. The extreme right-wing party, which has spent years basing its speech on the outright rejection of immigration, and on linking the population of foreign origin with criminality, exceeds the votes garnered four years ago (17.5%). The formation led since 2005 by Jimmie Akesson has improved its results in every parliamentary election since it was first presented in 1988.
Unlike all the previous elections, the Moderate Party (conservatives), the Christian Democrats and the Liberals attended the elections ready to come to power with the direct or indirect support of the extreme right. The moderates, who for many months were the leading right-wing force in the polls, have fallen behind the DS, with around 17% of the vote, according to the polls. If confirmed the sorpasso from the extreme to the moderate, Ulf Kristersson, the conservative leader, would be the big loser on election night.
At the end of last year, the extreme right reached an agreement with the conservatives and the Christian Democrats to approve alternative Budgets to those presented by the Social Democrats, putting an end to a cordon sanitaire that had turned the DS into a outcast party in parliament for more than a decade. Shortly after, the liberals also began to show themselves in favor of adding their seats to those of the three forces of the right to unseat Andersson from power. Since 1932, the right has only governed in Sweden (10.3 million inhabitants) in three periods: from 1976 to 1982, between 1991 and 1994, and from 2006 to 2014.
Following the 2018 parliamentary elections, the Nordic country experienced an unprecedented political paralysis that lasted more than four months. Finally, a Social Democratic government was born in coalition with the Greens. The left-wing bloc as a whole (social democrats, greens and former communists) was a minority compared to the right-wing, made up of La Alianza (moderate, centrist, liberal and Christian democrats) and the xenophobic DS, which, together, reached 205 seats in the unicameral Parliament . However, the cordon sanitaire to the extreme right allowed the Social Democrat Stefan Löfven to become prime minister.
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To be sworn in as Prime Minister it is not necessary to have an absolute majority of votes in favor, but it is necessary that 175 votes against are not added. The Center Party, the only formation to the right of the Social Democrats that maintains its firm veto against the xenophobes of DS —“No to racism”, has been one of its slogans—, is key to the options of the left bloc. After 15 years aligned with the moderates, the Christian Democrats and the liberals, the centrists have defended throughout the campaign that it was necessary to avoid at all costs that the extreme right could exert influence on the future government.
Even so, in the block of parties that should allow Andersson, the first woman to govern in Sweden, to continue in office, there are deep internal discrepancies. The political programs of The Left (former communists), the Greens, the Social Democrats and the centrists differ on countless issues. The frictions between the party furthest to the left of the Swedish parliamentary arch and the Social Democrats have been frequent during the campaign. The former communists maintain their opposition to the future accession of the Scandinavian country to NATO and have strongly criticized the concessions to Turkey for the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan to lift the veto on Sweden’s entry into the Atlantic Alliance. The firm rejection of the extreme right is the clear unifying force of this bloc, which is why the negotiations for the formation of a government are expected to last for weeks. The Center Party and the Left Party will compete for fourth place in the elections, with just over 7% of the support, according to exit polls.
The campaign has been dominated by issues that were in principle favorable to the right-wing opposition, such as crime, integration problems for part of the immigrant population and the inflationary spiral, mainly in energy prices. The Social Democratic Party clearly bet many of its options on the figure of Andersson, the best valued politician, according to all the polls. Since she was sworn in last November, the formation – winner of all the elections in the Nordic country since 1914 – began to go back in some polls that a year ago predicted a very black panorama. During the campaign, Andersson, 55, has toughened her discourse on immigration, criticizing the lack of integration of part of the population of foreign origin and the existence of “parallel societies” within the country.
The eight main parties that have participated in these parliamentary elections need to obtain at least 4% of the vote to access the Riksdag. Three of them – Greens, Liberals and Christian Democrats – were not guaranteed any seats, according to the latest polls, although exit polls give all three representation in Parliament.
All polling stations are expected to finish counting before midnight (same time in mainland Spain). Even so, the vote abroad will still take several days to be counted. In the elections four years ago, there was an alteration of three seats between the results announced at the end of election day and the final ones.
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