Sweden headed toward gridlock after far-right party gains seats in parliamentary elections

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven
(Image credit: Claudio Bresciani/AFP/Getty Images)

Sweden's ruling center-left Social Democratic Party won the greatest share of votes in Sunday's parliamentary elections but just barely, winning about 28.4 percent. The Social Democrats' ruling coalition earned a combined 40.6 percent of the vote, for about 144 seats in the 349-seat Riksdag, or Parliament, while the center-right Alliance coalition, led by the Moderates, got 40.3 percent, for about 142 seats. The biggest gain was by the far-right, anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats, who got 17.6 percent of the votes, for about 63 seats, from 12.9 percent and 49 seats in the 2014 election.

Both the center-left and center-right coalitions reiterated after the vote that they won't form a government with the Sweden Democrats, but it's unclear how either bloc will put together a working majority. Moderates leader Ulk Kristersson called on Prime Minister Stefan Lofven (pictured) to resign, but Lofven refused Sunday, telling supporters that "all good forces" in Sweden "have a moral responsibility" to solve the country's problems together. "A party with roots in Nazism," he added, referring to the Sweden Democrats, would "never ever offer anything responsible, but hatred."

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.