World Sweden elections too close to call, but right-wing bloc...

Sweden elections too close to call, but right-wing bloc makes historic gains

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Jimmie Akesson, the leader of the conservative Sweden Democrats, speaks on Sunday at the party’s election headquarters near Stockholm, Sweden. Photo by Maja Suslin/EPA-EFE

Sept. 12 (BP) — Officials said on Monday that parliamentary elections in Sweden on Sunday were too close to call and the winners won’t be announced until at least the middle of this week.

The margin is slim and there are still many votes to count, the officials said. However, it appears that a bloc of the country’s conservative parties have made historic victories and are challenging the progressive establishment in the country.

By late Sunday, Sweden’s Electoral Authority said it had counted votes in about 6,300 of 6,600 electoral districts and preliminary counts are expected to continue through Wednesday.

Partial results showed the right-wing Sweden Democrats won roughly 21% of the vote and 73 provisional seats in parliament. The governing Labor Party Social Democrats won about 30% for 108 seats.

The results showed that the right-wing bloc — made up of the Moderate, Christian Democrats and Liberals parties — won a collective 50% of the vote, giving it an edge for control of the government.

“I understand that there are many questions right now, and that the Swedish people want information about the future,” Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Åkesson said in a statement Monday.

“However, there is still no certain election result and there is therefore reason to be cautious and not act hastily. We must respect that every vote counts.”

Åkesson added that the right-wing party is “ready to contribute constructively to a change of power and a new start for Sweden.”

Even after the winners are declared, forming a new coalition government is expected to take time.

The elections came at a pivotal time in Sweden as it seeks to join NATO with Finland. The moves were spurred by concerns that Russia’s war in Ukraine could possibly spill into nearby nations.

The Sweden Democrats began as a fringe party that emerged from the country’s neo-Nazi movement in the 1990s. The party finally admitted this year to have roots in Nazi ideology. Sunday’s win is its biggest-ever victory in parliament.

“It’s a pivotal election because the Sweden Democrats have reached a stage where they have made other parties accept them,” Li Bennich-Björkman, a political scientist at Uppsala University, told The New York Times.

Some right-wing parties refused to cooperate with the Sweden Democrats, even as they rose in popularity, until just a few years ago, which could add to the challenges in establishing a coalition government.

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