Germany calls Swedish vote a 'turning point'

Swedish election: Nationalists 'make gains' in early exit polls

Swedish right and left neck-and-neck as anti-immigration party gains

During this election, almost all of Sweden's major political parties-including the Social Democrats and the Moderates-agreed that Sweden should massively reduce migrant arrivals until a Europewide immigration and refugee policy could be reached.

With nearly all districts having reported, the ruling centre-left Social Democrats and Greens and their Left Party parliamentary allies had 40.6 percent of the vote, while the opposition centre-right Alliance were at 40.3 percent. Although they won less support than expected, it is still enough to create deadlock: The existing center-left and center-right coalitions, both of which have ruled out explicit collaboration with the Sweden Democrats, are neck and neck, but neither is nowhere near having the seats necessary for a majority.

The Sweden Democrats, born as a far-right political movement and now an anti-immigration party, garnered a little under 18% of the vote.

Mattias, a Stockholm resident at an election night party in the city, said he was "extremely concerned" about the far right's steady climb.

Traditionally Sweden have only had two blocs fighting for their right to govern.

"However the dramatic bloc battle plays out, it looks like it will be hard for Sweden to have a functioning government", daily paper of reference Dagens Nyheter wrote in an editorial.

Lofven met Monday with his party leadership to map out a way forward.

With most of the ballots counted, the governing center-left bloc has a razor-thin edge over the center-right opposition Alliance, with roughly 40 percent each.

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Both the Social Democrats and the Moderates, the two largest traditional parties on the left and right respectively, saw their share in the vote shrink from the numbers they posted in 2014.

The Swedish prime minister has rejected calls to resign and said that "nothing will be determined" on an election night that has seen no clear victor emerge after major gains for an anti-immigration party.

He has one problem: neither side want to openly deal with him.

At the Swedish Democrat's election eve rally Saturday, party leader Jimmie Akesson criticized Lofven's government for "prioritizing" the needs of new immigrants the ones of Swedish citizens.

"This government has had its chance".

The head of the four-party Alliance (the conservative Moderates, Centre, Liberals and Christian Democrats), Ulf Kristersson, told AFP on voting day his Alliance was the only option for change.

With neither Lofven's "red-green" bloc nor his own Alliance standing a chance of winning a majority, Kristersson has said Sweden needs "a strong cross-bloc cooperation to isolate the forces. pushing for Sweden to withdraw from global cooperation".

About 6300 candidates sought the four-year terms. He has categorically ruled out any cooperation with the far-right.

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The party had 113 seats after the 2014 elections.

"So the Sweden Democrats' sympathizers are not participating in these kinds of surveys".

They are ready to block any attempt to pass legislation, such as the autumn budget bill. The Left Party, Sweden's former Communist party, would also be left out.

Far-right parties have gained strength in elections in recent years in several European countries, including Germany and Italy.

But that is no easy task, and the Alliance would still need the far-right's support to obtain a majority.

It would have to either make policy concessions in exchange for the Sweden Democrats' support or offer key positions on parliamentary committees that draft legislation.

The preliminary results suggest the Sweden Democrats have fallen short of expectation and that voters have not been as receptive to their anti-immigration rhetoric as it may have seemed.

The Sweden Democrats, led by Jimmie Akesson, links the country's rising crime rate to immigration, but official figures can't prove any correlation.

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He said he planned to build a government that would "unite our country and take responsibility".

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