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Opposition gains ground in final round of polls

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Opposition gains ground in final round of polls
11:34 CEST+02:00
The centre-left Red-Greens succeeded in diminishing the government's lead, while the far-right Sweden Democrats appear poised to enter the Riksdag, according to several polls published on Saturday, one day prior to Sweden's elections.

According to a Synovate poll published by Sweden's leading daily Dagens Nyheter (DN), the ruling centre-right coalition led by Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt garnered 49.2 percent of voter support, down 0.6 percentage points from the institute's last survey a week ago.

Saturday's poll thus indicated the ruling coalition, made up of Reinfeldt's Moderates along with the Liberal, Centre and Christian Democrat parties, would win a narrow parliamentary majority, taking 175 of the total 349 seats in the house.

The poll of 1,820 people between September 7 and 16 meanwhile showed the leftwing opposition coalition, made up of the Social Democrats, the Greens and Left Party, garnering 42.8 percent of voter support, an increase of 1.9 points from the previous survey.

"It would be enough for the government to win just a few fractions of a percentage point less for their opportunity to create their own majority rule to disappear," DN summed up the poll results.

It is vital for either the right or the leftwing blocs to win a clear majority in Sunday's vote, observers say, since the far-right anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats appear likely to enter parliament for the first time.

Even with a handful of seats, the far-right party could play kingmaker in a tightly split parliament with minority rule, and, analysts caution, could even make it so difficult to govern that new elections would need to be called.

In Saturday's Synovate poll, the Sweden Democrats garnered 5.9 percent of voter intentions, which marks a significant 1.6-point drop from the institute's previous survey but is still well above the 4.0-percent barrier for entering parliament.

If the far-right party, which won just 2.9 percent of the vote in 2006, were to match the poll result Sunday, it would win 21 seats in the house.

A Sifo poll published in the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) daily Saturday meanwhile showed the Sweden Democrats slipping below the parliamentary barrier to just 3.8 percent, while handing the leftwing opposition a full 45.3 percent of voter intentions, an increase of 3.3 points from its last survey.

That poll, of 1,941 people conducted on September 15-16, showed the government alliance slipping 1.8 points to 49.9 percent.

A Demoskop poll published by the Expressen tabloid Saturday also showed the Sweden Democrats slipping slightly, but just 0.2 points from its previous survey to 5.1 percent.

That poll handed the government alliance a clear majority of 51.2 percent, compared to just 42.5 percent for the opposition.

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