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Left alliance and right bloc head to head in elections in Sweden

According to projections, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson's left-wing electoral alliance is almost level with the right-wing camp in the parliamentary elections in Sweden.

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Left alliance and right bloc head to head in elections in Sweden

According to projections, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson's left-wing electoral alliance is almost level with the right-wing camp in the parliamentary elections in Sweden. According to the extrapolation published late Sunday evening after two thirds of the constituencies were counted, the right-wing camp with 175 seats in parliament is only one seat ahead of the left-wing alliance with 174 seats.

The right-wing camp made up of moderates, Christian Democrats and liberals, led by the moderate top candidate Ulf Kristersson, broke with a taboo before the election and for the first time entered into an alliance with the radical right-wing Sweden Democrats. Should the right-wing camp get the majority, the ultra-right party would be involved in the government in Stockholm for the first time.

The ruling Social Democrats became the strongest single party. According to preliminary figures from SVT, they received 30.4 percent of the votes. For the first time, the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats came in second with 20.7 percent. For her, it was the best result in her party's history. In 2018 they came to 17.5 percent. Ulf Kristersson's moderates came third with 19 percent.

Of the eight parties, four belong to the left block and four to the conservative block, in which the moderates and the Sweden Democrats are represented, among others. Initially, the left camp was slightly ahead in the SVT forecasts, but later in the evening the picture turned in favor of the conservative bloc led by moderate party leader Kristersson. According to preliminary figures, his camp had 175 mandates, the left 174.

The right-wing populist Sweden Democrats were unelectable for many Swedes for a long time and were cut by the other parties. However, they have grown in every election since 2010 and are busily working on a new, more bourgeois image. Among other things, you have made a name for yourself with criticism of immigration policy and crime in districts in which people with a migration background live in particular.

Only last year, 55-year-old Andersson became Sweden's first woman prime minister. She enjoys high approval ratings and was considered the driving force of her party. The sociologist Zeth Isaksson attributed this to Andersson's negotiations on Sweden's NATO accession and her long experience as finance minister. However, many voters also blamed them for high taxes and pointed out that the Social Democrats have been in power for eight years.

The Swedish parliament in Stockholm has 349 seats. 175 mandates are therefore necessary for a majority. So far, Andersson and her purely social-democratic minority government have had to rely on the support of the liberal Center Party, the Left and the Greens to achieve precisely this extremely tight number. The conservative-right bloc, led by moderate leader Kristersson, has so far held the remaining 174 seats.

Andersson, whose party is traditionally the strongest force in Sweden, was only elected Prime Minister of Sweden in November 2021, succeeding her party colleague Stefan Löfven and becoming the first woman ever.

Under her, the country applied for NATO membership in mid-May as part of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. In the election campaign, however, the sharp rise in energy prices and the rampant gang crime in Sweden were the most important issues.

The focus on fighting criminals apparently played into the hands of the right-wing in particular. Andersson made it clear again on election day that she was ready to work with all parties except the Sweden Democrats. She was very disappointed that other parties had decided differently in this regard.

The moderates and their partners have recently approached the right-wing populists openly for the first time. Andersson predicted that no party would have its own majority after this election. However, your Social Democrats have shown that they are able to work together even in complicated parliamentary situations.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg also warned against populist tones. She criticized at the weekend that a young activist had been publicly ridiculed by a moderate politician in the course of a television debate between Andersson and Kristersson.

"A society where political parties systematically mock and hate children who simply point to research is a sick society," Thunberg wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “Anti-democratic and populist winds are blowing strong. We have to stand up to that," she said.

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