The Latest: Germany calls Swedish vote a ‘turning point’
STOCKHOLM (AP) — The Latest on Sweden’s general election to renew the 349-seat Riksdag, the country’s Parliament (all times local):
A senior German official is describing the Sweden’s election, in which the governing party lost ground and a far-right party made gains, as a “turning point” for Sweden and Europe.
Michael Roth, a deputy foreign minister, was quoted as telling Monday’s edition of German daily Die Welt it’s good that pro-European parties which support an open and liberal society still have a clear majority. But he noted that Sweden has seen an emotional discussion about migration and said that “the gap between facts and perceived reality is getting ever bigger.”
Roth said “this election result is unfortunately a turning point for Sweden and Europe. Nationalist populism is still advancing, and it will complicate forming a government.”
The far-right Sweden Democrats took 17.6 percent of the vote Sunday, finishing third.
Sweden’s national election commission says an updated preliminary result is expected Wednesday that will include votes from abroad and early votes.
The Election Authority said Monday it will perform another count of votes after Sunday’s election, as is customary. A final result is expected to be presented to Parliament on Friday at the earliest.
In Sweden, to enter Parliament, a party has to pass the 4-percent threshold.
The governing center-left bloc has a razor-thin edge over the center-right opposition Alliance, with roughly 40 percent each. Both sides are keeping the Sweden Democrats, an anti-immigrant party with roots in a neo-Nazi movement that got nearly 18 percent, at arm’s length.
It said turnout stood at 84.4 percent, up one percentage point from the 2014 elections.
Sweden is facing weeks of political uncertainty after the country’s two rival blocs failed to secure a governing majority in elections that saw a boost for a far-right party amid growing discontent with large-scale immigration.
With most of the ballots counted, the governing center-left bloc has a razor-thin edge over the center-right opposition Alliance, with roughly 40 percent each.
Sunday’s election saw the Sweden Democrats, an anti-immigrant party with roots in a neo-Nazi movement, win about 18 percent, up from the 13 percent it gained four years earlier.
The party, which has worked to moderate its image in past years, gained on a backlash against the challenges of integrating hundreds of thousands of immigrants that arrived in the Scandinavian nation of 10 million over the past years.