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Alliance loses majority as far-right wins seats

AFP/The Local · 20 Sep 2010, 08:44

Published: 20 Sep 2010 08:44 GMT+02:00

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Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's centre-right bloc won 49.2 percent of votes and 172 seats in Sweden's 349-seat legislature in Sunday's vote, three short of a majority, according to a final ballot count.

The left-wing opposition coalition garnered 43.7 percent of the ballot and 157 seats, marking a crushing defeat for Social Democrat Mona Sahlin, 53.

"We have received broad support tonight," Reinfeldt told a jubilant crowd in Stockholm, boasting that his Moderate party had seen its voter support double from 15 percent in 2002 to 30 percent on Sunday.

Yet, he acknowledged, "This is not the election result we had hoped for," lamenting the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats' entry into parliament with 5.7 percent of the vote for 20 seats.

Observers have cautioned the far-right party could play either kingmaker or spoiler, forcing Reinfeldt to seek new alliances or even make it so difficult to govern that snap polls are forced.

"I have been clear...We will not cooperate with or be made dependent on the Sweden Democrats," Reinfeldt, 45, said in his victory speech, adding that he would seek to shore up support from elsewhere.

"I will turn to the Greens to get broader support in parliament," he said.

The Green Party, which campaigned as part of a Red-Green opposition coalition with the Social Democrats and Left Party andscored its best election result ever with 7.2 percent of the vote. It rejected the idea of cooperation with the opposing side outright.

"It would be very difficult for us after this campaign to look our voters in the eyes and say we have agreed to cooperate with this government," party co-chairwoman Maria Wetterstrand told Swedish public television.

Meanwhile, Sahlin, who had been vying to become Sweden's first woman prime minister, warned that the far-right's rise had put Sweden in a "dangerous political situation."

"It is now up to Fredrick Reinfeldt how he plans to rule Sweden without letting the Sweden Democrats get political influence," she told a crowd of crestfallen supporters after acknowledging defeat.

Reinfeldt's win spelled a decisive end to the rival Social Democrats' 80-year domination of Swedish politics and their role as caretakers of the country's famous cradle-to-grave welfare state.

The party, which for the first time had created a coalition of left-wing parties to increase its chances of winning power, suffered a historic loss, winning just 30.9 percent of the vote, down from 35.3 percent in 2006, when its score was already one of its weakest on record.

It is still the most popular single party, although it is now less than a percentage point ahead of Reinfeldt's Moderates. In 2002, 15 points separated the two parties.

More than 82 percent of Sweden's seven million electorate had cast their ballots Sunday, the final tally of votes from all election districts showed, although the number could shift slightly, since votes from abroad will be counted until Wednesday.

The far-right was celebrating its historic entry in parliament.

"Now we are in the Riksdag! We are in!" said Jimmie Åkesson, the 31-year-old leader of the Sweden Democrats, as he addressed supporters at the party's election headquarters.

Story continues below…

He dismissed widespread fears his party would cause parliamentary chaos.

"We won't cause problems. We will take responsibility. That is my promise to the Swedish people," he said.

Åkesson recalled a tough election campaign, saying his party had been excluded from the public debate.

"We were exposed to censorship, we were exposed to a medieval boycott, they...excluded us," he lamented. However, "today we have written political history," he said.

The party wants to put the brakes on immigration in Sweden, where more than 100,000 foreigners take up residence every year.

The Sweden Democrats won 0.37 percent of the ballot in 1998 and garnered 2.9 percent of the vote in legislative elections in 2006.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:54 September 20, 2010 by Lautreamont
I'm glad the Sverigedemokraterna got a place in the Parliament. Good news for every thinking Swede. If they were Nazis, they are really strange ones, since the SD is the only pro-Israel party in an anti-semitic, pro-Muslim Sweden. One of SDs most prominent members, Ted Ekeroth, won the Herlz Award in 2007, the most important Zionist prize in Sweden. Here: http://www.sydsvenskan.se/lund/article251344.ece Strange Nazis these! So, please, left-wing nuts, polically correct slaves and Quran lovers, please shut up. Enjoy your new Parliament!

Yours faithfully,

Lautréamon, an immigrant
09:14 September 20, 2010 by Rey Stockholm
We need an adult debate as to why the SD increased their share by so much ?
09:26 September 20, 2010 by PKi4
Lautreamon's naievte knows no bounds. Nazis are masters at exploiting whatever situation suits them best. They back Israel because (at the moment) it suits their purposes.
09:34 September 20, 2010 by miss79
fredrikn alliansen , work with SvD then..good luck for destroying sweden
09:37 September 20, 2010 by Jan M
History tells us that extremist parties emerge during periods of economic crisis and high unemployment. Amazingly in this election the rhetoric has been about the success of the Alliance's economic policies. The election results should be taken as a message that people don't really believe but also don't believe the Social Democrats have the answer either. The argument from the Swedish Democrats is that everybody would be much prosperous if immigration was better controlled. They dress this up as an immigrant takeover of Sweden but if you look for evidence that they are occupying positions of influence in Swedish society none exist to support the SD stance. In addition if the reason for economic and social uncertainty is truly that the job market is contracting then removing a sector of society which is statistically less likely to have a job anyway isn't a great answer. I'm not giving solutions here but these are the issues that the politicians should have been discussing openly. As it stands Sweden is a weaker and more divided country this morning and whilst I can see why the Swedish Democrats are celebrating their little con trick I can't fathom what the Moderates are so excited about.
09:46 September 20, 2010 by calebian22
The blame for the rise of the SD can be placed soley at the feet of the major parties who have done nothing but ignore the "problem." The notion that 5.7 percent of the population of Sweden are Nazis is absurd. When a problem is ignored it rarely goes away. The rise of SD is the result of every political party in Sweden ignoring the cultural war that is raging in Sweden with many of it's immigrants.
10:24 September 20, 2010 by asee
Congratulation SD!

Student in sweden
10:24 September 20, 2010 by Jan M
Maybe. History also tells us that the Nazis did not simply materialise fully formed. They started life as an opposition movement to the Communist Left with a desire to restore values in German society and strengthen its standing in the world. Only having attracted people with these goals did they transform into racist psychopaths. The world never votes for fascist politics, its is seduced into accepting fascist politics or spun a more convincing story first.
11:31 September 20, 2010 by Rick Methven
@Lautréamon, an immigrant

You have been sucked in by the SD who 'claim' that they have changed and are no longer anti-semitic. do not believe it, a leopard does not change it's spots.They are still the racist people with a Nationalistic Christian agenda they have always been. The Jackboots and Holocaust denial are hidden in the closet for now but would certainly re-appear if they ever got near to power. Now it is Muslims, after that it would be Blacks, Gays and also the Jews. They take their agenda from that of the National Socialists of Germany in the 1930's
12:40 September 20, 2010 by mkvgtired
"It is now up to Fredrick Reinfeldt how he plans to rule Sweden without letting the Sweden Democrats get political influence,"

Isn't this up to the voters?
12:50 September 20, 2010 by Grindsprint
Lautreamont: You are Intellectually dishonest and you know that. The notion that people who are against the state of israel for its criminal ways of forming has anything to do with anti smitism is rediculous. Everybody knows that. The stance people take on the question of the state of israel is anti imperialistic. It is not anti semitic to be agains international terrorism. It has nothing to do with siding with one religion over the other. Remember, swedes are intelectually advanced like that; we don´t believe in either of the crazy myths of the abrahamic triangle of insanity. Of course you know this, but you keep playing the anti semitism card because you know it has come to work in your advantage.

In reality, swedes have no general opinion about what a jew is, how he lives his life, what his personal traits are and so on. WE DON`T CARE! we judge every person on his personality, not his religion.
13:22 September 20, 2010 by Audrian
The write wings or extreme fringe parties have two major tricks under their sleeve. Take advantage of the economic recession and the insecurity of workers. The second is disinformation, which make foreigners or minorities appear the real enemy. If the recession persists the people who vote for the Fascist Party in Sweden can even triple. The followers of Fascist Parties in Germany and Italy in WWII were normal people, everyday people, who were coned to be Fascist and kill for its principles and on its behalf. Calebian 22, the potential for the rise of Fascism exists everywhere, perhaps more in some countries than others!
17:55 September 20, 2010 by McChatter
It will be interesting to see how the SD fraction fares in the Riksdag. It is not easy to keep discipline in a group of 20 persons who have no experience in the national political arena. It wouldn't surprise me if the fraction were to break up before let's say Christmas. It takes a long time for a political party to attain stability. If one looks at Vlaams Belang (formerly Vlaams Blok) in Belgium and the PVV in the Netherlands one sees two parties who have attained this stability but many others have risen and disappeared just as quick.

The main reason for the present popularity of SD is discontent. People nowadays are much more individuals who can make their own decisions and choices. If they are not satisfied, they go elsewhere. They are more demanding today especially where politics is concerned.

One must take the SD seriously now. They have been elected into the Riksdag and have thus a right to be heard. Even if the majority does not agree with them. The Belgiums carried out a "cordon sanitair" against the Vlaams Blok. It worked wonderfully for the Blok. Injured innocence. Wilders was not allowed to enter the UK. The man is a member of the Dutch parliament. Injured innocence again. Later the UK had to allow him in but the damage had already been done. In my view the only way to combat the SD and their counterparts in the world is to enter into a debate with them. No violence and allow them their democratic rights. When people find out through debate what they really stand for then perhaps the SD will lose its present attraction. But this will take time.

Unfortunately Sweden has today lost its "innocence". It can no longer wag its finger at the rest of the world and say "Look how we do it". It now has to face the reality of a SD fraction in the Riksdag. Neither ostracism nor violence will help, but debate will.

For the record, I live in Sweden and am neither radical left nor radical right.
18:49 September 20, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
@Rick Methven

Please be aware that swedish anti-semitism spans the entire political spectrum, and is ingrained into the fabric of being a swede and has so since the '30's. The facts are, jews are already fleeing due to, umm, the very things the Sweden Democrats are looking to curtail (islamafication of society through a open door migration policy).

Strangley, (or unstrangely given how blatant the anti-semitism is in Sweden) the swedish media and government is unwilling to go to bat for the Jewish population which would have benefited from reduced islamic pressure on thier livelihood. So, the Sweden Democrats, (if anti-semitic) are caught it a wierd catch22 hate(or love) triangle.

The goal for the Sweden Democrats is to develop this party with a mature approach. Side with patriotism, and not nationalism which can quickly ruin the message.
19:05 September 20, 2010 by Grindsprint
@GefleFrequent Troll

Please be aware that your jealousy of Swedish success and moral standards are very obvious in every post you make here. You know full well that swedes are not anti semitic, but you need to spin it that way to feel better about yourself. Everybody here understands what an ignorant loser you are. Please stop posting. You are making an idiot of yourself
19:08 September 20, 2010 by McChatter

Sorry, that should have read Belgians and not "Belgiums". My English must be getting rusty!

Looking at Mona Sahlin and Lars Ohly today, I had to think of Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli...........Time To Say Goodbye.
19:20 September 20, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer

Demanding me to stop posting....that would make you some kind of, umm, facist. Yeah....about that...

History has proven my position as correct (most recently as Malmo Mayor-gate). I'm by far not jealous of Sweden, rather I look to sweden 10 years in advance in dealing with the policy issues that are confronting the problems we have in america. There is a lot to be learned from Sweden, good and bad.

Don't be a bitter loser that Sweden has finally woken up from thier slumber. I find yesterday's poll results a simple vindication of the hunch that I've been asserting for years. Today, I'm happy for Sweden, and hopeful for its future.
21:45 September 20, 2010 by wxman
@Audrian, what exactly is it that the "write" wings write?? Great novels? I'm curious.
22:45 September 20, 2010 by mieoux
Sverigedemokratena as Nazis. To foreign investors: stay out of Sweden as long as these people are in parliament, they don't want you here.
09:37 September 21, 2010 by Ben5
I think this was a part of a noticeable new movement in Europe, which came as a response to the growing Islamic extremism around the world, and with the help of the financial crises, emigrates flowing forth and of course the failure of the major parties to address all that.

Many Swedes started to feel that they are in danger, and as I foreigner I can understand that, and going for SD I don't think will destroy Sweden as some people believe, but it might change the friendly face, which this nation used to be famous for.

Mr Reinfeldt with his government tried their best in the last four years, and I believe they did very well, especially dealing with the credit crunch, but now they have to consider the change of the nation mood, as you can not ignore 5.7 % of Swedes.
05:10 September 22, 2010 by Rikey
Always remember that 50% of the population is below average.

You folks got a "Tea Party" experience. Those 50% of the Swedish population that has an IQ less than 100 deserve an elected official.
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