Sweden′s ruling coalition beats opposition but fails to gain majority | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 19.09.2010
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Sweden's ruling coalition beats opposition but fails to gain majority

Sweden's election has produced a hung parliament, with the center-right coalition winning but missing out on a majority. The far-right party Sweden Democrats has won its first seats.

Fredrik Reinfeldt and Mona Sahlins

Incumbent Fredrik Reinfeldt and challenger Mona Sahlins

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and his four-party "Alliance" coalition have won 49.2 percent of the vote, compared with 43.7 percent for the center-left opposition bloc.

"We intend to continue to govern," Reinfeldt told his supporters.

The far-right party Sweden Democrats took 5.7 percent of the vote, having cleared the 4 percent hurdle needed to enter parliament. The anti-immigration party's success has deprived the ruling coalition of a majority.

A demonstration against the Sweden Democrats

There have already been massive protests against the Sweden Democrats

The center-left Social Democratic leader Mona Sahlin was vying to become Sweden's first female prime minister, but her coalition with the Greens and Left Party was significantly beaten.

Reinfeldt's Moderate Party is the largest in the ruling coalition, which also includes the Liberal Party, the Center Party and the Christian Democrats.

Increase in support for far-right party

Growing support for the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats mirrors developments in countries like Denmark, the Netherlands and France, where anti-immigrant parties are already strong.

Fredrik Furtenbach, the head of the politics desk at Swedish National Radio, told Deutsche Welle that the party was Sweden's least popular party. But he warned that it was the only one that was campaigning on accepting fewer refugees.

Swedish politician Jimmie Aakesson in Stockholm

Aakesson stirred up Swedes on Saturday with his '99 proposals'

"So they have potential," Furtenbach said. "There is a group of Swedish voters that want fewer refugees, and the Sweden Democrats are the only alternative for them."

Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Aakesson attempted to present the party's "99 proposals" in front of parliament in Stockholm on Saturday to highlight the way the main parties have ostracized it.

Far-right threat overshadows election

"We want those who will be our colleagues starting next week to know what to expect from us and what issues we expect to push," he said, after being prevented from posting the scroll of proposals to parliament meant to evoke Martin Luther's nailing of the 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral, launching the reformation.

Both Reinfeldt and Sahlin, meanwhile, have dismissed the notion of entering into government with the Sweden Democrats, saying the party's anti-immigration campaign opposes Sweden's constitution.

Author: Joanna Impey, Richard Connor (AFP/Reuters/dpa)
Editor: Andreas Illmer, Ben Knight

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