Populist anti-immigration leader claims victory in Swedish elections

World

A coalition of right wing parties have claimed victory in the Swedish elections, ousting the centre left bloc from power.

Jimmie Akesson, who leads the nationalist and anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, said his party would be “a constructive and driving force” in rebuilding safety in the country, adding it was “time to put Sweden first”.

The populist grouping of Sweden Democrats, the Moderates, Christian Democrats and Liberals appears to have won a small majority now most of the votes have been counted – with 176 seats in the Riksdag, compared to 173 for the centre left group.

But while Mr Akesson’s party seems to have the biggest slice of the vote with 20.6%, it will be the Moderates’ Ulf Kristersson who will lead the new government, as the coalition partners will not back the Sweden Democrats leader due to his party’s far right roots.

Mr Kristersson, whose party appears to have secured 19.1% of the vote, said: “I will now start the work of forming a new government that can get things done, a government for all of Sweden and all citizens.”

The current Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has already accepted defeat, saying “the preliminary result is clear enough to draw a conclusion” she had lost power.

But she said she understood concerns about the victory of the former fringe party, adding: “I see your concern and I share it.”

More on Sweden

Ms Andersson became Sweden’s first female PM in 2021 and led the country in its bid to join Nato after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

She said: “The four right-wing parties appear to have received just under 50% of the votes in the election, and in the Riksdag, they have gained one or two mandates. A thin majority, but it is a majority.

“Tomorrow I will therefore request my dismissal as prime minister and the responsibility for the continued process will now pass to the parliament speaker and the Riksdag.”

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