Swedish prime minister to resign after bloc loses legislative majority
Copenhagen, Sep 14 (EFE).- Sweden’s prime minister, social democrat Magdalena Andersson, announced Wednesday that she will present her resignation on Thursday after confirming that the center-left political bloc was defeated by the rightist opposition in nationwide legislative elections last weekend.
With 99.7 percent of the polls reporting, the rightist opposition now holds a 176-173 majority in the country’s legislature, according to the recount finalized on Wednesday by the Electoral Authority, which includes the mail-in votes of Swedes living abroad that were mailed by the deadline but which did not arrive on time for tabulation on election day.
The social democrats, the most powerful political bloc over the past century in Sweden, were hoping to maintain their primary position and received 30.4 percent of the votes, two percentage points more than they garnered in the 2018 elections.
Coming in second in the balloting was the ultrarightist Democrats of Sweden (SD) party with 20.6 percent of the vote, three percentage points more than they had obtained in the earlier election, and in third place were the conservatives headed by opposition leader Ulf Kristersson, whose support fell by 0.7 percent to 19.1 percent of the vote.
“Almost all the votes have been tallied, but the preliminary election result is clear enough,” said Andersson at a press conference.
She also said that the new parliament will present a “tough” and “complicated” scenario due to the closeness of support for the various parties and she expressed concern about the rise of the SD.
“That causes unease among many Swedes. I see that unease and I share it,” she said, urging the public to fight hate and intolerance and called on the three rightist parties to place “limits” on the SD.
The social democratic leader also emphasized that her party obtained a “solid” electoral result and that it is “clearly” the largest political grouping in Sweden with the support of nearly one-third of the electorate.
The final result gives the opposition bloc 49.6 percent of the votes, compared with 49 percent for the center-left and the difference between the two rival groups increases from the single seat that had been announced on Monday, when not all the votes had been counted, to a three-seat advantage for the rightists.
On Monday, just over 44,500 votes separated the two blocs, which had calmly awaited a more definitive result from the so-called “Wednesday vote,” although the four parties in the rightist bloc had held meetings geared toward their apparent electoral win and Swedish media speculated about who might serve in various cabinet posts.
The “Wednesday vote” in Swedish elections generally has had little influence upon the final result, except for in 1979, when it tilted things in favor of the right after just 8,500 ballots had separated the two blocs on election night.
The SD was the big winner in the election, given that not only was it the party that saw the greatest increase in voter support but it also grabbed the lead spot within the rightist bloc from the conservatives after trailing them since 1979 and thus it will have a direct influence on the formation of the new government after a decade of isolation.
The ultrarightst group, with neo-Nazi roots in the late 1980s, has been subjected to a “cordon sanitaire” by the country’s other political forces since it managed to win seats in Parliament in 2010, a situation that explains why the social democrats have governed in the minority during the past two legislative sessions despite the fact that the right had a majority of seats in Parliament.
During the last legislative session, the social democrats had to form an alliance with the centrists and liberals, thus breaking their pact with the center-right that had been in place since 2004, so that the isolation of the SD could be maintained, although conservatives, Christian democrats and liberals have said that for some time it’s been necessary to negotiate with the ultraright, although they didn’t want the SD to play any role in government.
Swedish media outlets broached the possibility that the conservatives and Christian democrats might form a minority government headed by Kristersson and backed by the other groups within the rightist bloc.
However, the SD demanded a “central” role in the new government and is setting its sights on “forming part of the government,” according to what its leader, Jimmie Akesson, said on election night.