The Swedish Election Authority finished counting the votes from the September 9th elections on the morning of September 16th.
Anna Nyqvist, head of the Swedish Election Authority, told the TT newswire that the allocation of seats would remain unchanged, with 144 seats to the red-green bloc, 143 to the centre-right Alliance parties, and 62 seats to the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats.
In the final result, the Social Democrats got 28.3% while the Green and Left parties got 4.4% and 8% respectively. The opposition Moderate Party, meanwhile, received 19.8% of the vote, while their allies the Centre, Liberal and Christian Democrat parties, got 8.6%, 5.5% and 6.3% respectively.
“For the election authority, it’s now all about getting ready a protocol and documents for members of parliament so that the parliament is ready to start work when it opens,” she said. “There’s a real shortage of time for the parliament to get everything in place before the opening.”
Once more, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven used the results to argue that as the largest party leading the largest parliamentary bloc, the Social Democrats should lead Sweden’s next government.
“The final election result shows that we Social Democrats are clearly the largest party and have the biggest support for a government if the right-wing parties do not break their promise and create a common bloc with the Sweden Democrats,” he said.
There was, he reiterated, only one “constructive solution for the good of the country: to break with bloc politics.”
“Now all upstanding parties must take their responsibility to push Sweden forwards,” he said. “In this process, no one is going to manage to achieve their party’s policy program in its entirety, but through cooperation we can do so much more for our country.”
Despite the anti-immigrant nationalist rhetoric of far-right party Sweden Democrats and claims that the party would win at least 20% of the vote, the opposite became reality.
With tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of migrants receiving welfare payments without having made any contributions, Sweden’s current welfare system seems destined to collapse, according to Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Åkesson.
Although their result is lower than expected, they yet may play the role of kingmaker. The mainstream blocs have vowed not to cooperate with them because of their “nationalist” positions on immigration and the European Union.
In 2016, Prime Minister Löfven called the Sweden Democrats “a Nazi party, a racist party.” He also claimed that “swastikas are still in use at their meetings.” The Sweden Democrats accused Löfven of slander and threatened to report him to the Parliament’s Constitutional Committee. Jonas Millard, the party’s representative on that committee, said:
“When Sweden’s prime minister claims that the Sweden Democrats are a Nazi party, it is not just a lie, but also completely lacking in understanding of history and lacking in respect for all those millions of people who have been exposed to real Nazism.”
Löfven responded that his words had been taken out of context.
On September 9th, Löfven again branded the Sweden Democrats as racist:
“We are not going to retreat one millimeter in the face of hatred and extremism wherever it shows itself. Again, and again, and again, they show their Nazi and racist roots, and they are trying to destroy the European Union at a time when we need that co-operation the most.”
Meanwhile, Löfven’s party, the Social Democrats invested $850 000 of taxpayer money to encourage voter participation among migrants.
Ulf Kristersson, the leader of the biggest opposition party, the Moderates, has excluded outright government talks with the Sweden Democrats but hasn’t rejected grabbing power should the nationalists support him.
Lofven’s attempts to peel off the Center Party and the Liberals have so far come up empty. They are also unlikely to back a government that relies on the former communist Left Party, a key ally of Lofven’s Social Democrats over the past four years.
Left Party leader Jonas Sjostedt said on September 19th that the Alliance is “cooking a recipe for chaos” given that it will need backing from the nationalists to form a government. “We can’t accept that the Alliance seizes power when they lost the election.”
Despite vows for non-cooperation, the leader of the Sweden Democrats, Jimmie Åkesson, addressing the Danish People’s Party’s annual meeting in Herning, Denmark on September 15, said it would be impossible for the other parties in Sweden to shut his party out of influence in the negotiations to form the next government:
“They make every effort to form a new government without giving us influence. But it will be impossible to keep us out. The sooner they realize it, the faster we will avoid chaos.”
Sweden’s parliament is set to open on September 25, and then within two weeks, if Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has not yet resigned, there will be a parliamentary vote of confidence in him.
If more than half of MPs vote against him, then the parliament’s speaker will propose a new prime minister.
The speaker can propose four different prime minister candidates. If all four are rejected by parliament, a new election will be called.
If Sweden is to avoid new elections in a few months, somebody will have to compromise or lay down their votes.