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Behind the scenes: Election night 2014

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Behind the scenes: Election night 2014
Is the the Alliance's last photo op as Sweden's government? Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT
17:58 CEST+02:00
The Local reported live from the main parties' election events on Sunday night. Our reporters shared their insights ahead of the results.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson will be reporting from the Feminist Initiative (Fi) election party at Debaser Strand in Stockholm this evening.

Aside from the customary canapés, I have been promised a packed line up with hip hop artist Cleo and Sara Thuresson set to provide the entertainment. 
 
As for the politics, with Fi flirting with the four-percent threshold for parliamentary seats, the evening could turn into an historic one if they become the first expressly feminist movement to be elected to a national parliament.
 
The party's rise since the turn of the year has been nothing short of meteoric. Fi barely registered in the opinion polls until the spring and pulled off some coup in polling enough votes in the EU election in May to take a seat in Strasbourg.
 
This success has been translated into the domestic arena over the summer and recent polls have indicated that they are firmly in the running for parliamentary seats.
 
If they were to claim the necessary votes the Swedish parliament would shift character considerably. The informal red-green bloc could then attain an outright majority and the Sweden Democrats would be stripped of their position as kingmaker.
 
Party leader Gudrun Schyman has said that the party supports a change of government but won't demand any ministerial posts.
 
I'll be talking to the voters, campaign staff, candidates and party hierarchy to take the evening's pulse and bring you all the updates and analysis that this very close election race has offered up.
 
Maddy Savage will be reporting from the Sweden Democrats' election party in Djurgården, Stockholm.
 
There is global attention on the far-right Sweden Democrats who are expected to make big gains. If this happens, Sweden will follow the UK, Germany and France where anti-immigration parties are also growing in popularity.
 
The Sweden Democrat party is the only political group in Sweden that has spoken openly against the rising numbers of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers arriving in the country.
 
It is expected to do well despite numerous scandals in recent weeks including a photo of a local election candidate wearing a Nazi swastika armband and revelations on Friday that its charismatic young leader Jimmie Åkesson regularly gambled online for large amounts of money.
 
Behind the scenes, Swedish journalists and political commentators have told me that top politicians from the other main parties are already worried that the rise of the Sweden Democrats could damage the country's reputation for egalitarianism and Nordic tolerance, no matter who takes over as Prime Minister.
 
I'll also be keeping an eye on what's happening with the Liberal Party, one of the four parties in the centre-right Alliance government. 
 
James Savage: Tonight could see the Social Democrats end eight long years in the political wilderness, but any victory is unlikely to be plain sailing for Stefan Löfven.
 
This party ruled Sweden most of the 80 years leading up to 2006, usually alone or by forming temporary coalitions. When the Social Democrats last won an election in 2002, it was a whisker away from 40 percent.
 
Since they were voted out in 2006, the party has had a pretty torrid eight years in opposition. In 2010 under Mona Sahlin, the party gained just under 31 percent of the vote, its lowest ever share. 
 
This was followed by the short-lived leadership of gaffe-prone Håkan Juholt, who was dumped by the party after poll ratings continued to fall. 
 
Now, with former union leader Stefan Löfven poised to become prime minister, the party could be celebrating tonight. But if the latest polls are correct, it could be with an even lower share than in the catastrophic 2010 election. Critics say the Greens and the Left Party have been better at mobilizing voters who want change, in contrast to the Social Democrats’ message of solidity and responsibility.
 
Any Social Democratic-led government will be more reliant than any previous administration on support from allies in the Greens and the Left Party. The way Stefan Löfven manages this will affect the whole future of Sweden’s left.
 
Paul O’Mahony: I’ll be heading to the Green Party event tonight, where emotional turmoil is almost guaranteed.

The big story as far as the Greens are concerned is the strong likelihood they’ll form part of a coalition government for the first time in their 33-year history.

A recent dip in the polls might rankle somewhat, but the prospect of cabinet posts will probably keep the mood buoyant at the Kägelbanan venue on the Stockholm island of Södermalm.

Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven, the man expected to lead the next government, favours a two-party government with the Greens over any other outcome. Unfortunately for him, both his own party and the Greens have lost some of their pre-election fizz in the polls, meaning Löfven will probably need to put together a broader coalition.

While the Greens will most likely improve on their previous best Riksdag result – 7.3 percent in 2010 – opinion polls in the days and weeks before election day have shown them slipping behind the nationalist Sweden Democrats in their battle to become Sweden’s third largest party.

Mixed feelings then for the two-headed leadership of Åsa Romson and Gustaf Fridolin, but the prospect of cabinet posts will probably keep the mood buoyant at the Kägelbanan venue on Stockholm’s Södermalm.

I’ll also possibly be hot-footing it over to the Centre’s Party gathering at the Radisson Blu hotel in central Stockholm.

Young party chief Annie Lööf was something of a laughing stock in the Swedish media in the early days of her leadership but she has won critics over with her performances in the pre-election debates.

She has dazzled audiences with her deep knowledge of the central issues; this, combined with a self-confidence and tenacity that saw her knock both Stefan Löfven and Jimmie Åkesson off balance, could be enough to catapult the Greens above the Liberal Party, making them the second-biggest Alliance party.  

Really, as the world’s wealthiest political party, this is the least they should expect.      

Oliver Gee: I'll be at two gatherings tonight - the Moderates and the Left Party. Luckily, they're across the road from one another. 

I had a chat to Nick Aylott, political scientist at Södertörn university, about what to expect at the Moderates. 
 
"It's pretty clear the Moderates will do badly, and I have a hard time seeing Fredrik Reinfeldt continuing beyond the very short term unless there's an absolute miracle," he said. 
 
"I think this is one of his final moments in charge of the country - and his party."
 
He added that it "wasn't inconceivable" that Reinfeldt would step down as party leader tonight, but that in Sweden it's more customary to quit after a "period of refection". 
 
Aylott added that Sunday night should promise some great armchair viewing.
 
"Just about everything is interesting and exciting tonight. Almost every party score will make a difference in some way," he said.
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