Sweden's ruling centre-left party, the Social Democrats, won 23.6 percent of the vote when 94 percent of voting districts had declared on Monday morning, down 0.8 points on the 2014 election.
The Moderate Party followed in second spot, with 16.8 percent, ahead of the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats at 15.4 percent, less than they both got in public broadcaster SVT's first exit polls early on Sunday evening. The latter saw the biggest increased compared to the last European elections in 2014.
- Who are the Swedish parties and what do they want?
- The biggest talking points in Sweden ahead of the EU election
No one in the top three grew in comparison to Sweden's recent national election in September 2018. The larger parties traditionally perform less well in the European election compared to the national election.
If the results hold steady, the Social Democrats will remain at five seats in the European Parliament, the Moderates will grow from three to four MEPs, and the Sweden Democrats grow from two to three.
The Sweden Democrats' election night party earlier on Sunday evening. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT
The Greens only gets two MEPs, down from four in the last European elections in 2014. The Centre Party and the Christian Democrats both double their seats to two each, and the Left Party and Liberals one each. Feminist Initiative falls far below the four-percent threshold needed to get a seat.
RESULTS with 94 percent of districts counted
Social Democrats: 23.6%
Sweden Democrats: 15.4%
Christian Democrats: 8.7%
Feminist Initiative: 0.8%
The so-called “Greta effect” seen in for example Germany, where the Greens surged on the momentum sparked by climate protests led by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, did not happen in Sweden, where the Green Party's record result of the 2014 European election dropped, although it did make significant gains compared to the 2018 national election.
But the climate was still high on the agenda in Sweden, with several parties making the environment one of their top priorities. Other issues debated ahead of the election included a groping scandal, abortion rights and threats against politicians.
Green Party top candidate Alice Bah Kuhnke and party co-leader Per Bolund. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT
Swexit was been less hotly debated, with the traditionally anti-EU parties, the Left Party and the Sweden Democrats, both dropping their pledges to leave the European Union in the wake of the UK's Brexit chaos.