While the result looked set to fall short of leader Jimmie Akesson’s predictions of 20 percent of the vote or more, he told a party rally it was nevertheless the victor of the election.
The governing center-left bloc had a razor-thin edge over the center-right opposition Alliance, with roughly 40 percent each.
“What they [the polls] do conclusively show, though, is that the worst case scenario that many Swedes had feared, that the far-right Sweden Democrats party might edge into first place, has not come to pass”, he added.
A protracted battle to form a working coalition now looks certain. The party, which has its roots in the white supremacist movement, said that it would not lend its support to any minority government unless it was able to influence it from the sidelines. He said his party had “won” the elections because of its gain in seats. However, the results were closer to one in six. The coming weeks will reveal who runs the government, but Sweden Democrats are very unlikely to enter the government or make a big difference to economic policies.
A senior German official is describing the Sweden’s election, in which the governing party lost ground and a far-right party made gains, as a “turning point” for Sweden and Europe.
Akesson told supporters on Sunday that the projected 63 seats his party would clinch in the 349-seat parliament is a victory.
Much more likely, however, is a government which still includes either the Social Democrats or the Moderates.
To avoid that situation, Kristersson appears to favour some form of broad cross-bloc cooperation with the Social Democrats.
The party will be the third largest party in the new parliament with 62 seats.
Neither the conservative/liberal block nor the progressive block will have its own majority, they might even end up with exactly the same share of the votes on Wednesday when the final ballots of overseas Swedes are counted, which means that the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats will keep gaining influence.
Now, with a deeply fragmented result, talks must begin to try to work out how to form a government.
Mr. Lofven met Monday with his party leadership to map out his road ahead. “We have two weeks left until parliament opens”.
Both the left-leaning bloc led by the Social Democrats and the center-right bloc, in which the Moderates is the largest of four parties, have said they would refuse to consider the Sweden Democrats as a coalition partner.
With one major caveat: the Centre and Liberals are members of the Alliance, together with the Moderates and Christian Democrats.
The Sweden Democrats rise comes after widespread discontent over immigration, particularly the massive influx of refugees which started in 2015.
Susanne Madsen, 61, another Social Democrat voter, was confident Sweden’s current prime minister, Stefan Löfven, would stay in place.
At the party’s rally on Saturday, Akesson strongly criticised Lofven’s government for “prioritising” the cause of immigrants over the needs of citizens.
The prime minister must choose between: risking losing core voters by dealing with the party he calls racist; and bargaining, for the sake of his career. “Everything is about us”, Akesson said.
Support for the far right in Sweden mirrors similar trends in other European nations following the mass migration of refugees to the region in 2015, at the height of the Syrian war.
Sweden’s traditional parties have since hardened their tone to reflect concerns about integration. Many allege that immigrants were behind the massive auto bombing spree in August, which saw 160 cars torched.
And in a Trumpian campaign tactic specifically created to enrage Sweden’s Europhilic establishment, the Sweden Democrats have called for a referendum on European Union membership: Swexit . Support for the Green party, which had been struggling after various internal scandals, has crept up across the country.