Sweden faces political deadlock after gains by far-right party

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven next to his campaign bus

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven next to his campaign bus

Sweden is headed for a hung parliament after an election on Sunday that saw support for the nationalist Sweden Democrats surge, as one of Europe's most liberal nations turned right amid fears over immigration.

Swedes went to the polls on Sunday and although it will take some time for a ruling coalition to emerge, the biggest immediate victor appears to be the party that won't form a government.

"We are going to gain real influence over Swedish politics", Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson told cheering supporters at an election night party.

The leader of a far-right party that campaigned with an anti-migrant message says the party has "won" Sweden's national election.

Results were based on 99% of the vote confirmed and will not be finalized until Wednesday when overseas votes are counted.

The Sweden Democrats, with roots in the neo-Nazi movement, have said the large number of asylum-seekers presents a threat to Swedish culture and claim they put a strain on the country's generous welfare state.

The results after 4,800 of 6,004 districts had been counted, showed the the Prime Minister Stefan Lofven's Social Democrat and Green party coalition, together with the Left Party, winning 40.6 percent of votes, the election authority data showed.

"We have two weeks left until parliament opens".

"We wanted to see a better result, there's no doubt about that".

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

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Ahead of the election, promising prospects for the Sweden Democrats had many Swedes anxious about an erosion of the humanitarian values that have always been a foundation of their country's identity.

With a steady rise in popularity of the Sweden Democrats, immigration has become the hot topic of the election. In 2015, Sweden, a country of 10.1 million people, took in more than 160,000 asylum-seekers. Anti-migrant parties in Germany, Austria, Denmark, France, Hungary, Italy and the United Kingdom have all made gains in recent years.

Both the left-leaning bloc led by the Social Democrats and the center-right bloc have said they would refuse to consider the Sweden Democrats as a potential coalition partner.

Returns reported by the Scandinavian country's election commission showed the Sweden Democrats placing third in the parliamentary election held Sunday. We suffered from the refugee crisis in 2015. "That's why the Sweden Democrats are as big as they seem to be", he told CNN in Stockholm.

Voter Anton Loin said Swedes were increasingly looking for political alternatives.

Akesson was jubilant as he addressed supporters a day later, declaring the estimated 14 parliament seats the Social Democrats picked up a victory other parties could not ignore in coalition negotiations.

"It's an integration issue", Karl Ljung said at the same voting station. "But I'm not sure about the way of the Sweden Democrats". I think it's healthy to have debate.

"I have tried to prove to voters during the election campaign that if you really want a change, you have to vote. for our four parties".

As expected, neither the centre-left nor the centre-right bloc obtained a majority in Sunday's vote. "The democratic revolution in Europe is underway!" That history means something, no matter how much the party professes to have changed and maybe really has changed, that background means something and it makes it more hard for mainstream parties to consider treating them as a normal party.

If this manifests, it will give SD the opportunity to influence policy, particularly on immigration.

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