General election: Conservatives begin search for new government in Sweden

After a dramatic parliamentary election, Sweden faces a political shift to the right.

General election: Conservatives begin search for new government in Sweden

After a dramatic parliamentary election, Sweden faces a political shift to the right. Social Democratic Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson conceded the narrow election victory of the right-wing conservative camp on Wednesday evening and wants to ask Parliament Speaker Andreas Norlén today to be dismissed from office. After that, the conservative top candidate Ulf Kristersson can set out to explore a government basis with his camp. The focus should be on the role of the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats after their extremely strong election result.

After counting almost all votes, Kristersson's four-party bloc, including the Sweden Democrats, has 176 seats, Andersson's camp has 173. 175 are needed for a majority in the 349-seat Stockholm Parliament.

"Sweden first"

It's time for "Sverige först" (Sweden first), wrote Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson on Facebook. Now the conditions in the winning camp have to be regulated in detail. This process will take some time. Kristersson announced that he would now prepare to form a new, energetic government. "My message is I want one, not split," he said in a video posted to Facebook.

Before Kristersson can rally a political majority in parliament and become the new prime minister, he must agree on a government basis with the Sweden Democrats, Christian Democrats and Liberals. It is still unclear whether this will work. A central question will be which of the parties will sit in government - and which, outside of such a coalition, will only serve as supporting parties in parliament.

Kristersson's moderates as well as the Christian Democrats and Liberals want to keep the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats out of the coalition, but need their support for conservative government policies. That is why they had already approached the right-wing populists, who had always been left out, during the previous term of office. In view of their record result of over 20 percent, they are now likely to link their support to comprehensive concessions, for example on immigration issues and the fight against rampant gang crime in Sweden. The latter became the most important issue in the election campaign alongside the rise in energy prices.

Sweden Democrats increase

The Sweden Democrats made it into the Reichstag in Stockholm for the first time in 2010. Since then they have been able to continuously increase their election results. This time they even replaced Kristersson's moderates as the second strongest force behind the Social Democrats.

Andersson's Social Democrats are now about to go into opposition - even if the head of government did not completely slam the door on talks with Kristersson on Wednesday. But she made it clear what she thinks of the moderate wanting to work with the right-wing populists - nothing. She obligated Kristersson's party, Christian Democrats and Liberals, to distance themselves from all attempts to condone or even fuel hatred, threats and violence.

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