The populist Sweden Democrats have secured their biggest ever share of the public vote in Sweden, while the ruling Social Democrats put in their worst performance since 1908.
The Sweden Democrats took 17.6 percent of the vote, only slightly behind the establishment ‘centre-right’ Moderate Party, who slipped to 19.8 percent.
Meanwhile, the ruling Social Democrat Party gave their worst showing in a hundred years, while their Green Party coalition partners barely exceeded the 4 percent threshold required for any parliamentary representation at all.
With 5858 out of 6004 districts reporting, here are the results from election night as of 11:53. The final results will be in on Wednesday, which will include some early votes that haven't yet been counted. #swedishelection pic.twitter.com/QJg6MSxsU8
— Radio Sweden (@radiosweden) September 9, 2018
Although the Sweden Democrats fell slightly short of a second-place finish, populist leader Jimmie Åkesson — who pushed through the election campaign despite Islamist threats against his family — told supporters they were the “real winners” in the election, suggesting they could serve as kingmakers with the left-liberal and ‘centre-right’ blocs unable to form parliamentary majorities on their own.
“We have increased our mandate in parliament and we see that we will have an immense influence on what is happening in Sweden in the next week, the next few months and the next few years,” he told supporters.
A few reflections on Sweden's exit polls
1. The centre-left Social democrats average 25.8% in exit polls -this would be their lowest vote for more than a century (since 1908). The decline of social democracy in Europe continues#val2018 #SwedenElection pic.twitter.com/XR8QrlMNNu
— Matthew Goodwin (@GoodwinMJ) September 9, 2018
The Sweden Democrats’ breakthrough was hailed by Europe’s leading populist, Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini, who has been shaking things up across the European Union since his ascent to power as leader of one half of the Mediterranean country’s new populist coalition government.
“Sweden, the homeland of multiculturalism and the model of the left, has finally decided to change after years of rampant immigration,” he boasted.
“Even there… they are saying no to this Europe of bureaucrats and speculators, no to illegal immigrants, no to Islamic extremism.”