Monday, December 10, 2018
   
Text Size

Site Search powered by Ajax

Swedish election: Far right poised for gains in heated polls

Opinion polls suggest far-right Sweden Democrats likely to make gains, which could complicate coalition talks.

Voting in Sweden's legislative elections has entered its final hour, with the far-right expected to win a record score as voters unhappy about immigration punish one of the few remaining left-wing governments in Europe.

Polling institutes have suggested the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats (SD) could win anywhere between 16 and 25 percent of Sunday's vote, which would give it significant influence, making it impossible to predict the make-up of the next government.

The party with roots in the neo-Nazi movement has called the arrival of almost 400,000 asylum seekers since 2012 a threat to Swedish culture, and claims they are straining Sweden's generous welfare state. 

The traditionally two biggest parties, the Social Democrats and the conservative Moderates, were together predicted to win around 40 percent, down by 10 percentage points from the last elections in 2014.

Candidates from the eight parties campaigned down to the wire on Saturday, targeting, in particular, the 20 percent of the 7.5 million eligible voters believed to still be undecided.


READ MORE: Refugees, crime, environment in spotlight as Swedes head to polls


Social Democratic Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has repeatedly called the legislative elections a "referendum on the future of the welfare state".

But the far right has presented it as a vote on immigration and integration after Sweden took in more than 160,000 asylum seekers in 2015 alone, a per capita record in Europe.

'No racists on our streets'

On the eve of the election, Lofven condemned "the hateful forces" in Sweden.

He urged voters to "think about how they wanted to use their time on Earth", calling on them to "stand on the right side of history".

Moderates leader Ulf Kristersson meanwhile said that after the election, Sweden would need "a strong cross-bloc cooperation to isolate the forces... pushing for Sweden to withdraw from international cooperation".

In southern Sweden, an SD stronghold, party leader Akesson campaigned among throngs of supporters as detractors booed him and shouted "No racists on our streets!"

"We're now competing against the Social Democrats and Moderates to become the biggest party in the country," he said, dismissing the protesters as "communists".

Around 7.5 million Swedes are eligible to cast a ballot on Sunday. 

Polling stations opened across the country at 8am (06:00 GMT) and close at 8pm (18:00 GMT), with first estimates expected soon afterwards.

Final results are due before midnight (22:00 GMT), but the composition of the next government may not be known for weeks.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe via RSS or Email:

Two border crossings open in divided Cyprus, first in 8 years

Read More

Ukraine rebel regions vote in polls slammed by Kiev and the West

Read More

UN chief sees 'parallels' with 1930s amid nationalism warnings

Read More

Macron urges world leaders to 'fight for peace' on WWI centenary

Read More

Erdogan and Trump meet in Paris amid Khashoggi crisis

Read More

12 killed in Sicily as death toll in Italy floods mounts

Read More

Most Read Articles

Most Read News

Donation

Thanks to all of our supporters for your generosity and your encouragement of an independent press!

Enter Amount:

Featured_Author

Login






Login reminder Forgot login?

Subscribe to MWC News Alert

Email Address

Subscribe in a reader Facebok page Twitter page

Israel pounds Gaza

India's Kerala state devastated

Capturing life under apartheid