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Swedish PM Andersson to Resign After Right-Wing Bloc Wins General Election

© AFP 2023 / Pontus LUNDAHL / TT NEWS AGENCYSweden's Prime Minister-elect Magdalena Andersson addresses a press conference after the budget vote in the Swedish parliament on November 24, 2021.
Sweden's Prime Minister-elect Magdalena Andersson addresses a press conference after the budget vote in the Swedish parliament on November 24, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.09.2022
Swedes took to the polls for national elections to the Riksdag parliament on Sunday, with the national-conservative populist Sweden Democrats enjoying a surge in support and threatening to sweep the minority government of the ruling center-left Social Democrats from power.
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has conceded defeat in the weekend's elections, and announced plans to resign as head of government on September 15.
"The preliminary result is clear enough to draw a conclusion" that the center-left has lost power, Andersson said, speaking at a news conference Wednesday and referring to the latest vote count, which showed that the right and populist right was leading the center-left, left, and greens 49.6 percent to 48.9 percent as of Wednesday evening.
"The four right-wing parties appear to have received just under 50 percent of the votes in the election, and in the Riksdag, they have gained one or two mandates. A thin majority, but it is a majority," Andersson said.
"I will therefore tomorrow ask the speaker to be relieved of my post," she said, adding that "the responsibility for the continued process will now pass to the parliament speaker and the Riksdag."
Official final results are expected to be tallied by the weekend at the latest, but the governing coalition led by Andersson's Social Democrats has been collectively outperformed by the Sweden Democrats, Moderates, Christian Democrats, and Liberals, who are poised to take 176 seats in the country's 349-seat parliament - enough for them to form a slim majority.
The Social Democrats still maintain a plurality of seats (100), with the Left Party taking 27 seats, and the Greens 16.
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Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson proclaimed victory in the election on Wednesday, saying it was "time to put Sweden first," and that his party would serve as a "constructive and driving force in this work."
The Sweden Democrats party was founded in 1988 by right-wing forces, with some early members active in extreme-right politics and allying themselves with other European ultra-right parties. In the mid-1990s and 2000s, the party gradually mellowed toward more moderate and populist views, taking their first seats in the Riksdag in 2010, and enjoying a surge in popular support amid the European migrant crisis in the mid-2010s before becoming a mainstream political force in the late 2010s.
Until recently, mainstream parties from the center-right vowed not to work with the national-conservative party under any circumstances. However, in 2021, Moderates party leader Ulf Kristersson said that the Sweden Democrats' shift in rhetoric, branching out politically to "take part much more seriously in parliamentary work" and "constructive" positions on issues ranging from law and order to migration and the pandemic had made his party more willing to cooperate with the SD.
People cast their vote at a polling center located at Royal College of Music in Stockholm on September 11, 2022 during the general elections in Sweden - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.09.2022
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While the election upset could mean changes in Sweden's domestic politics on issues such as immigration and gang crime, little is expected to change in the country's foreign policy, with both the Social Democrats and the Sweden Democrats in favor of joining NATO, with the Left calling for a referendum on the matter (Andersson rejected that idea in April) and the Green Party remaining opposed to Sweden's entry into a military bloc.
Andersson assumed office in November 2021, taking over from fellow Social Democrats politician Stefan Lofven, who became prime minister in October 2014.
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