The leader of Sweden’s Social Democrats, Stefan Lofven, on Monday abandoned efforts to form a government, extending a political deadlock that has gripped the country since an inconclusive national election seven weeks ago. The failed attempt brought the prospect of a snap election closer, though the speaker of parliament said he would try to avoid that at all costs. The Sept. 9 vote gave the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats hold the balance of power, but neither Lofven’s center-left bloc nor the center-right group of parties has been willing to give them a say in policy due to their white supremacist roots. “In light of the responses I have had so far … the possibility does not exist for me to build a government that can be accepted by parliament,” Lofven told reporters.
Articles about voting issues in the Kingdom of Sweden.
Swedish IT sector is helping the government make election systems more secure and reduce external influence. The security measures assembled and implemented around the 2018 election in Sweden were devised in consultation with leading actors within Sweden’s private IT sector. The primary role of the IT suppliers was to advise government panels, which included the national security service (Säpo), the National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen), the National Civil Contingencies Agency and the National Election Authority. Säpo was at the head of a government-commissioned election taskforce that organised an IT-based protective shield around the voting process and implemented measures to minimise hostile external inference.
Sweden’s election authority completed its final count on on Sunday morning without any significant changes to the preliminary result. Anna Nyqvist, head of the Swedish Election Authority, told the TT newswire that the allocation of seats would remain unchanged, with 144 seats to the red-green bloc, 143 to the centre-right Alliance parties, and 62 seats to the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats. “For the election authority, it’s now all about getting ready a protocol and documents for members of parliament so that the parliament is ready to start work when it opens,” she said. “There’s a real shortage of time for the parliament to get everything in place before the opening.” Prime Minister Stefan Löfven used the final tally to once again argue that as the largest party leading the largest parliamentary bloc, the Social Democrats should lead Sweden’s next government.
Counting the votes cast in Sweden’s election has taken longer than expected, meaning the final result has been delayed and now won’t be released until Sunday. A preliminary result was released on Thursday afternoon after all the votes had been counted, but these must now be recounted and double-checked, as is standard procedure in Swedish elections. The official final result had been expected on Friday, with the Swedish Election Authority initially saying it could be released even earlier. On Friday morning however, the authority said that the final result had been delayed and was likely to be announced on Sunday. “It is extremely important that we are able to ensure that Sweden gets a correct election result,” Anna Nyqvist from the Swedish Election Authority said on Friday, in a statement which admitted the procedure had taken longer than estimated.
The two blocs are almost neck and neck as the counting of overseas votes starts in Sweden.
It is not yet known how many votes – Swedes abroad and some domestic votes that haven’t yet been registered – are left to count, but in the last two election they have been around 200,000. The preliminary election result is so tight that only two seats – or almost 30,000 votes of those that have been counted – currently put the left-wing bloc ahead of the four-party Alliance opposition. But based on past elections it is not likely that the late votes will change the number of seats won by either bloc, however it could change the seat allocation within the blocs, writes the TT newswire.
Social Democrat prime minister Stefan Lofven pledged on Sunday evening to remain prime minister of Sweden, with the general elections giving his centre-left bloc 144 seats in the Swedish parliament, the Riksdag – one more mandate than the centre-right opposition alliance’s 143 seats. The result is however so tight, with just some 30,000 votes separating the two blocs, that it may take until Wednesday (12 September) when the last votes cast by Swedes abroad have been counted and the result finally checked before the final result is known. The Social Democrats remained the biggest party with 28.4 percent of the votes, according to figures released on Monday morning. It gives the party 101 seats in the parliament, a record low result. The party had 113 seats after the 2014 elections.
Sweden headed for a hung parliament after an election on Sunday that saw support for the nationalist Sweden Democrats surge as one of Europe’s most liberal nations turned right amid fears over immigration. Far-right parties have made spectacular gains throughout Europe in recent years as anxieties grow over national identity and the effects of globalisation and immigration following armed conflict in the Middle East and North Africa. In Sweden, an influx of 163,000 asylum seekers in 2015 – the most in Europe in relation to the country’s population of 10 million – has polarised voters and fractured the long-standing political consensus.
Sweden faces a protracted period of political uncertainty after an election that left the two main parliamentary blocs tied but well short of a majority, and the far-right Sweden Democrats promising to wield “real influence” in parliament despite making more modest gains than many had predicted. The populist, anti-immigrant party won 17.6% of the vote, according to preliminary official results – well up on the 12.9% it scored in 2014, but far below the 25%-plus some polls had predicted earlier in the summer. It looked highly likely, however, to have a significant role in policymaking. The governing Social Democrats, led by prime minister Stefan Löfven, maintained their record of finishing first in every election since 1917, but saw their score fall to 28.4%, the lowest for a century, while the main centre-right opposition Moderate party also slipped to 19.8%.
Neither of Sweden’s main political blocs is likely to win a majority in an election on Sunday, giving the far-right Sweden Democrats a key role in shaping the next government. The center-left bloc, uniting the minority governing Social Democrat and Green parties with the Left Party, is backed by about 40 percent of voters, recent opinion polls show, a slim lead over the center-right Alliance bloc. The Sweden Democrats, who oppose immigration and Sweden’s continued membership of the European Union, are polling around 18 percent of the vote and would thus hold the balance of power.
One in three news articles shared online about the upcoming Swedish election come from websites publishing deliberately misleading information, most with a right-wing focus on immigration and Islam, Oxford University researchers say. Their study, published on Thursday, points to widespread online disinformation in the final stages of a tightly-contested campaign which could mark a lurch to the right in one of Europe’s most prominent liberal democracies. The authors, from the Oxford Internet Institute, labeled certain websites “junk news”, based on a range of detailed criteria. Reuters found the three most popular sites they identified have employed former members of the Sweden Democrats party; one has a former MP listed among its staff.