Swedish far-right leader says party 'won' vote

Jan Bjorklund Jonas Sjostedt Annie Loof and Jimmie Akesson Stockholm 2018

Partial results, with some 80 per cent of districts counted, showed the ruling centre-left Social Democrats and Greens and their Left Party parliamentary allies winning 40.6 per cent of the vote, while the opposition centre-right Alliance had won 40.1 per cent.

With nearly all districts having reported, the ruling center-left Social Democrats and Greens and their Left Party parliamentary allies had 40.6 percent of the vote, while the opposition center-right Alliance was at 40.3 percent.

A preliminary count in Sweden's general election on Sunday shows a populist, anti-immigrant party making gains in parliament at the expense of the nation's governing center-left coalition.

The new government, which could now take weeks to form, will need either cross-bloc alliances between centre-right and centre-left parties, or an accommodation with the Sweden Democrats, long shunned by all the other parties due to their extremist roots, to pass legislation - potentially giving the populists a say in policy.

Outgoing Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has accused the SD of extremism and said that a vote for it was "dangerous".

The parliamentary election being held on Sunday (today) will be Sweden's first since the government in 2015 allowed 163,000 migrants into the country of 10 million.

The potential of a surge by the party had many Swedes anxious about an erosion of the humanitarian values that have always been a foundation of their country's identity.

Latest opinion polls suggest the ruling Social Democrats led by Prime Minister Stefan Lofven would substantially lose seats at the Parliament but would still win ahead of the far-right and anti-immigration Sweden Democrats the popularity of which has steadily risen since the 2014 election.

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"Now we will gain influence in Swedish politics for real", Sweden Democrat Jimmie Akesson told a cheering crowd of supporters as the results came in.

"This government has run its course", Kristersson told a party rally, referring to Lofven's minority cabinet.

"This government we have had now, they have prioritised, during these four years, asylum-seekers", Mr Akesson said, giving an exhaustive list of things he says the government has failed to do for Swedish society because of migrants.

Akesson was jubilant as he addressed supporters a day later, declaring the estimated 14 parliament seats the Social Democrats picked up a victory other parties could not ignore in coalition negotiations.

Moderates leader Ulf Kristersson meanwhile said that after the election, Sweden would need "a strong cross-bloc cooperation to isolate the forces. pushing for Sweden to withdraw from worldwide cooperation". Lofven accused some of his opponents of being prepared to work with the far-right party, which he vowed his party would not to.

In an interview with AFP during the campaign, Akesson stressed he would "lay down his terms" after the election, citing immigration policy, crime-fighting and health care as priorities.

"Sweden needs breathing space, we need tight responsible immigration policies". "Integration is one of the biggest questions for the future in Sweden".

The nationalist Sweden Democrats were on track to get 17.8 percent. "The Alliance will not govern or discuss how to form a government with the Sweden Democrats", he said.

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