Anti-immigrant party wins 20% in Sweden vote

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"I think we are facing an extremely complicated process to form a government, maybe the most complicated in modern times", said political scientist Niklas Bohlin at the Mid Sweden University. A separate exit poll by TV4 also had the main blocs in a dead heat, but only gave the Sweden Democrats 16.3 per cent.

"Even if the blue parties do a deal with the Sweden Democrats to take power, it will still be the same politics".

The growth of the Sweden Democrats in recent elections is certainly one reason for the decline of the dominant political parties and their respective blocs.

That same scenario has played out similarly in countries across Europe, where traditional left and right parties have employed similar strategies to regain voters from populist parties, largely without success.

This is significant; one could describe the founding fathers of the modern Swedish society as Social Democrats, and Sweden stands as the model case of the Nordic welfare state. On the centre right, the Conservatives could potentially work with the Liberals, the Centre Party and the Christian Democrats. The center-left party emerged with the greatest share of the vote - 28.4 percent as the count neared completion - yet looking at holding fewer parliament seats than four years ago.

"We will gain huge influence over what happens in Sweden during the coming weeks, months and years", he told supporters.

Overseas votes will be counted on Wednesday. Both his left-leaning bloc and the centre-right bloc led by The Moderates have said they will not ally with the Social Democrats.

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. For me, when he is saying that immigrants are not welcome to Sweden ... he is trying to spread hate between the people. "Nationalist populism is still advancing, and it will complicate forming a government". 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.

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Many Swedes began to worry about an erosion of "humanitarian values" as the Sweden Democrat party rose in popularity.

Sweden's centre-left governing bloc is neck-and-neck with the centre-right opposition alliance in the country's general elections, according to official results, which also showed gains for an anti-immigration party that has its roots in the neo-Nazi movement. In most other countries, these parties were swept away by the tides of history.

In an interview with AFP during the campaign, Akesson stressed he would "lay down his terms" after the election, citing immigration policy, crime-fighting and health care as priorities.

The election had been watched closely for signs about the extent to which a cascade of anti-immigrant fear could hit even Sweden, which has always been one of Europe's most open nations toward refugees.

Sweden's ruling party was headed for its worst showing in decades as voters flocked to an anti-immigrant party with white supremacist roots that was poised to become the third-biggest force in parliament. Many allege that immigrants were behind the massive vehicle bombing spree in August, which saw 160 cars torched.

The four-party Alliance has so far rejected his offer, urging him to step down and make way for them to form a government.

The prime minister must choose between: risking losing core voters by dealing with the party he calls racist; and bargaining, for the sake of his career.

"He said he was interested in cooperating with the other parties, and wanted to tell the Moderates in particular 'how to govern the country".

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