Swedish center-right opposition leader Ulf Kristersson asked Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Lofven to resign on Sunday after preliminary election results showed his opposition coalition to the Alliance in a virtual draw with their center-left rivals.
"This government has run its course," Kristersson said at a party meeting, referring to Lofven's minority cabinet.
"Now I should resign."
Kristersson is the leader of the Moderates and the candidate of four center-right parties of the Alliance for Prime Minister.
The partial results of the vote on Sunday, with 80% of the counties counted, show that the left-center social democrats and the green and their left-wing parliamentary allies won 40.6% of the votes, while the center-right opposition it was seen in 40.1%. percent
The Democrats of Sweden, a party founded by white supremacists, rose to 17.8 percent from 12.9 percent in the last election four years ago, in effect ensuring the balance of power.
Even so, its outcome seems to be up to the predictions of its own leaders of a vote of 20 percent or more.
However, its leader, Jimmie Akesson, said at a party meeting: "We will gain a great influence on what will happen in Sweden over the next weeks, months and years."
Given that neither of the two main political blocs can have a majority, the Swedish Democrats, who want the country to leave the European Union and freeze immigration, could play a decisive role in the negotiations to form a government that looks complex and elaborate. -outside.
Marine Le Pen, of the right-wing Front National of France, praised the projected increase of the Swedish Democrats, tweeting: "Still another bad night ahead for the European Union, the democratic revolution in Europe is moving forward!"
Lofven had called the elections a "referendum on the future of the welfare state," but the extreme right presented it as a vote on immigrants and their integration.
The Swedish Democrats, with roots in the neo-Nazi movement, have said that the large number of asylum seekers represents a threat to the Swedish culture and ensure that they exert pressure on the country's generous welfare state.
About 18.5 percent of the Swedish population of 10 million was born abroad, according to Statistics Sweden.
Lofven urged the Swedes not to vote for what he called a "racist party" when he cast his vote on Sunday.
"It's … about decency, about a decent democracy, and the Social Democrats and a government headed by the Social Democrats are a guarantee not to allow the extreme democratic party of Sweden, the racist party, to influence the government."
The Social Democrats have led a minority government with the Greens since 2014, with informal support from the former Communist Left Party to pass legislation.
If the preliminary results are confirmed, the result of the Social Democrats would be their worst performance in a century.
– & # 39; Hostile to foreigners & # 39; –
Mattias, a Stockholm resident at a nighttime election party in the city, said he was "extremely worried" about the steady rise of the far right.
"The choice is between potential democracy and potential fascism," he told AFP.
Swedish far-right Democratic leader expects a good election result
& # 39; Hostile to foreigners & # 39;
Anna Berglund, a 28-year-old lawyer who voted in favor of the small Fiesta del Centro at an electoral college in the luxury Ostermalm district of Stockholm, agreed.
"I'm afraid we're becoming a society that is more hostile to foreigners."
The head of the Alliance of four parties (conservative moderates, the Center, Liberals and Christian Democrats), Ulf Kristersson, told AFP on the day of the vote that his Alliance was the only option for change.
"We are the guarantee to expel the current government from power," he said.
Given that neither Lofven's "red-green" bloc nor his own Alliance have a chance to win a majority, Kristersson has said that Sweden needs "strong cross-bloc cooperation to isolate forces … pushing for Sweden to withdraw of international cooperation. "
It's time to talk to the democrats of Sweden & # 39;
The final results of the election were delivered Sunday night, but the composition of the next government may not be known for weeks.
Long negotiations will be necessary to build a majority, or at least a minority that will not be overthrown on the opposite side.
The opposition intends to overthrow Lofven, with some moderates willing to go so far as to end the pariah status of the Swedish Democrats and open negotiations with them.
That could be fatal for the Alliance, with the Liberal and Center parties repeatedly discarding an agreement with the extreme right.
None of the seven parties has been willing to negotiate with Sweden's Democrats, who first entered parliament in 2006 with 5.7 percent of the vote.
"The problems in society that we have noticed have grown and worsened and people are in agreement with our vision of reality," Swedish parliamentary group leader Mattias Karlsson told SVT.
"When the same party increases again and again, and the other parties stay still, then you have to listen to that part of the population that is voting for this party, it's time to take responsibility and talk to the Democrats of Sweden." , He said. .
In an interview with the AFP during the campaign, Akesson stressed that he would "establish his terms" after the elections, and cited immigration policy, the fight against crime and medical care as a priority.