Swedish far-right party grows support, not by as much feared

Swedish far-right party grows support, not by as much feared

Swedish far-right party grows support, not by as much feared

None of the seven parties has been willing to negotiate with the Sweden Democrats, which first entered parliament in 2006 with 5.7 percent of votes.

Sky's Michelle Clifford, who is reporting from the Sweden Democrats' election party, said: "They have done well, but the aspirations from the polls was that they would be the second largest, but that doesn't seem so".

The left-leaning Social Democrats and their allies earned 39.4 percent of the vote, according to exit polls, while the right-leaning Alliance polled at 39.6 percent.

Mr Akesson had labelled the vote a choice between immigration and welfare in a campaign that was unusually antagonistic. In 2015, Sweden, a country of 10.1 million people, took in more than 160,000 asylum-seekers.

The Social Democrats and Greens could retain power in the unlikely event that Prime Minister Lofven survives a mandatory vote on whether to replace him.

The prime minister is usually the leader of the party with the most votes, but Sweden's fragmented political landscape after Sunday's election makes it impossible to guess who will form the next government.

Sweden's Prime Minister and leader of the Social Democrat party, Stefan Lofven, speaks at an election party at the Fargfabriken art hall in Stockholm. "It's also about decency, about a decent democracy ... and not letting the Sweden Democrats, an extremist party, a racist party, get any influence in the government".

Party leader Jimmie Akesson said the party has "won" Sweden's national election if you looked at the number of seats gained.

Both of the main blocs had indicated before the election that they would refuse to govern with the Sweden Democrats.

Polling institutes have suggested support for the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats (SD) could tick in anywhere between 16 and 25 percent, giving it significant influence and making it impossible to predict the make-up of the next government. The party had 113 seats after the 2014 elections.

It would also make them the biggest populist party in the Nordic region, topping the Danish People's Party, which gained 21 per cent in 2015, and would trump the 12.6 per cent for the far-right Alternative for Germany, which swept into the Bundestag past year.

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"I'm afraid we're becoming a society that is more hostile to foreigners". "So I go see people and ask them if they have Swedish citizenship and if they do I tell them that it's important to go vote", Sofie, a Turkish woman in her 50s told AFP. "We used to be a very calm nation", she said.

Over 99 percent of the votes have been counted, but one question remains unanswered after the Swedish election.

But the traditional polls greatly underestimated support for the Sweden Democrats before the previous election, while the online surveys were far closer to the result.

Lofven said he would not resign and called for an end to governance by political blocs.

With the prospect of weeks or months of coalition talks before the next government is formed, Swedish tabloid Expressen headlined its front page Monday: "Chaos".

"There is no side with a majority. They can't adjust to Sweden, and it's hard for them to get a job".

That could prove fatal for the Alliance, with the Liberal and Center parties repeatedly ruling out a deal with the far-right.

Nicholas Aylott, associate professor of political science at Södertörn University, told Swedish news outlet The Local: "It's pretty much inconceivable that the left bloc would be prepared to accept that (Sweden Democrat) support or govern with that support".

"This party has increased and made the biggest gains".

For others, however, the Sweden Democrats are not the answer.

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