2022 Swedish election For Members

EXPLAINED: Why we might have to wait until Thursday for Sweden's final election result

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EXPLAINED: Why we might have to wait until Thursday for Sweden's final election result
Election officials carry out the 'Wednesday Count' in Malmö town hall after the 2018 election. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

While most of the votes in Sweden's 2022 election have been counted, the result is still too close to call and we have to wait a few days to find out who comes out on top.


With mainly votes cast in early voting and overseas votes left to count, the parties supporting Ulf Kristersson for PM have a one seat majority. How secure is their lead and could the Left bloc still clinch it?

What's the current situation with votes counted? 

The latest figures from Sweden's Election Authority, from 4.24am on Monday morning, would give 175 seats in parliament to the Moderates, Sweden Democrats, Christian Democrats and Liberal Party, all of which support Ulf Kristersson as Prime Minister. 

This is just one seat ahead of the 174 seats which would be won by the Social Democrats, Left Party, Green Party, and Centre Party. 


How many votes have been counted? 

The latest figures are with 6,243 of 6,578 election districts and 95 percent of the votes counted, so there is still a slim possibility that one or more seats could flip over to the other side. 

The remaining votes are divided between early votes and overseas votes which have not yet reached the election district where they need to be counted.  

In 2018, the authority counted 202,000 votes in the days after election night, and this year it expects this number to be greater because of the rise in early voting, with many Swedes voting at early voting polling stations on the day before the election and even on election day itself if they could not get to the polling station where they are registered. 

Among those, there are expected to be about 70,000 votes from Swedes living overseas. 

"These votes didn't have time to reach the polling stations to be counted yesterday, so they will be counted on Wednesday," Anna Nyqvist from the authority told TT. "We think a lot of people voted at early voting stations yesterday, but we won't know for sure until later today." 

When will the votes be counted? 

To give election officials a bit of a break after their efforts on election day and election night, the late votes are counted in the so-called onsdagsräkningen, or Wednesday vote count, with the Election Authority expecting the process to drag on into Thursday this year. 

Could the Wednesday count change the result?

Svante Linusson, a professor in Maths and election expert at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, told Dagens Nyheter that it was unlikely, but not impossible. 

After the 2018 election, one mandate changed sides on the Wednesday after the election, but Linusson said that because the Social Democrats, Left Party, Green Party, and Centre Party had already won the most recent four mandates, this meant that they would need to get a higher share of the remaining votes to win back further seats. 

"It means that it needs to go really, really well for them when the remaining votes are counted. It's not enough for them to get the majority of the remaining votes."

In 1979, the overseas votes were enough to lose the Social Democrats their majority. 


Who do early voters usually vote for? 

It's very hard to tell for certain as early and overseas votes are lumped together in the Wednesday count, but there are some indications that the Sweden Democrats are slightly overrepresented among early voters, as "shy Sweden Democrats" want to vote away from the polling station where they are registered so that they are not seen voting for an anti-immigrant party. 

It's possible that this will be less of a factor now the party has been more normalised, and also since reforms to the voting procedure allowed voters to select ballot papers in a private booth. 


Who do overseas Swedes normally vote for? 

The Election Authority's latest survey of overseas Swedes, carried out by Gothenburg University's SOM Institute in 2014, found that they were generally slanted towards the right-wing, with 36 percent voting Moderate compared to 23 percent in that year's election, and only 15 percent voting for the Social Democrats compared to 15 percent in that election. 

The Green Party, the Liberal Party and the Centre Party were also slightly over-represented among overseas voters, while the Christian Democrats and Sweden Democrats were slightly under-represented. 

Anders Lindberg, a leader writer for the Aftonbladet newspaper told AFP it now looked "impossible for the left to win because the votes from abroad are... usually in favour of the right".

But he may not be correct. 

"There is no systematic pattern that supports the idea that the votes that are added have a right-wing tendency," Maria Solevid, the associate professor at the University of Gothenburg who helped carry out the 2014 survey, told The Local. 

As for the survey, no one knows how these expatriate voters will have been reacted to the Moderate Party's decision to accept the support of the Sweden Democrats, which the Moderates still treated as an untouchable pariah party back in 2014. 

The Moderate Party has also worked hard to woo overseas voters during the campaign, sending out more than 160,000 letters to Swedes living overseas with a personal greeting from Ulf Kristersson.

The Centre Party has also been trying to win their votes over from the Moderate Party, sending them around 45,000 letters warning them of the danger of Sweden Democrat influence.

How do the mandates normally shift between Sunday and Wednesday? 

According to Solevid, if you look back in history and compare the Sunday night results in Swedish election and the Wednesday night result, there is no evidence of a right-wing shift. 

In 2018, the Social Democrats, Christian Democrats and Sweden Democrats all lost one mandate in the Wednesday count, while the Centre Party, Green Party and Liberal Parties all gained one. In 2014, the Christian Democrats lost a mandate and the Green Party gained one. In 2010, the Centre Party gained a seat and the Social Democrats lost one, and in elections before that, mandates also shifted in all directions. 

"We cannot say whether there will be any shift, and we cannot predict how the shift would look like, or say that it will always be to the right," she concluded. 




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