Published: Mon, September 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Sweden: Exit poll projects mixed voter message in election

Sweden: Exit poll projects mixed voter message in election

The Sweden Democrats are bidding to become the biggest populist party in the Nordic region, topping the Danish People's Party, which gained 21 percent in 2015, and trump the 12.6 percent for the far-right Alternative for Germany, which swept into the Bundestag a year ago.

The poll showed that the far-right, anti-immigration Sweden Democrats - led by Jimmie Akesson - would get 19.1 per cent of the votes in what would be a major increase compared to the 13 per cent support received in 2014.

Sunday's results make it unlikely that any party will have a majority of the 175 seats in the Riksdagen, Sweden's parliament.

Reuters reported that right-leaning parties won gains compared to previous elections in the traditionally liberal country, thanks in large part to fears over immigration.

Immigration has become a hot-button issue in Swedish politics since the mass migration of refugees to Europe in 2015, at the height of the Syrian war.

"SD voters tend not to answer, even in exit polls", he observed - possibly anticipating that the populist party will perform even better than expected once the votes are tallied and the true results revealed.

Mohamed Nuur, a 26-year-old Social Democratic candidate of Somali descent, told The Associated Press that he sees Akesson taking Sweden back to the past.

Current Prime Minister and leader of the centre-left bloc Stefan Lofven has said moderate parties have a "moral responsibility" to form a government to avoid the Sweden Democrats gaining any influence.

That gave the center-left 144 seats in the 349-seat parliament against 142 for the Alliance, suggesting weeks of uncertainty before a workable government can be formed.

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Sweden took in more asylum seekers per capita than any other country in Europe in 2015, magnifying worries about a welfare system that many voters already believe is in crisis.

While most pollsters see the two blocs winning roughly equal support, the figures for the Sweden Democrats differ widely between surveys.

This may indicate that he is prepared to work with centrist or centre-right parties to stop the Sweden Democrats having the balance of power in parliament.

"Terrible! I just wanna cry when I think about it", said Veronica Lundqvist, referring to the Sweden Democrats after she left a voting booth in central Stockholm.

The Sweden Democrats - led by Jimmie Akesson - has worked to soften its neo-Nazi image while helping to break down longstanding taboos on what Swedes could say openly about immigration and integration without being shunned as racists.

Separately, Swedish tabloid Expressen interviewed a representative of the right-wing Sweden Democrats.

Speaking to supporters late Sunday Kristersson said he planned to build a government that would "unite our country and take responsibility".

During a heated debate among party leaders Friday, Akesson caused a stir by blaming migrants for the difficulties they often have in finding employment and not adjusting to Sweden.

"It feels like Sweden could take a step in this election that we won't be able to recover from very easily". "We won't mourn, we will organize ourselves", he said.

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