Swedish Elections

A tie may leave power into hands of the Sweden Democrats

Key Actors:

  • The Alliance – consisting of the Moderates, the Centre Party, the Liberals, and the Christian Democrats
  • The Left-wing opposition – consisting of Social Democrats, Green party and Left Party
  • Sweden Democrats – supporting anti-immigration policies


In recent decades, the influx of immigrants to Sweden has brought cultural diversity, but also new social challenges. Violent incidents have occurred, including the massive Stockholm riots which broke out in 2013. In response to these violent events, the anti-immigration opposition party, the Swedish Democrats, promoted their anti-immigration policies while the left-wing opposition blamed growing inequality caused by the centre-right government’s socio-economic policies. With more immigrants coming to Sweden, some citizens are concerned about Sweden’s distribution of the welfare system leading to overall anti-immigration sentiments. These sentiments have led to a rise in support for the Sweden Democrats.

The Ongoing Election

Sweden faces political uncertainty after an election that left the two main parliamentary blocs tied but well short of a majority. Meanwhile, the far-right, anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats made more moderate gains than many had predicted, winning 17.6% of the votes according to preliminary official result. This is well up from the 12.9% it scored in 2014, but far below the 25% plus polls that had been predicted earlier in the summer. The Sweden Democrats were highly likely to have a significant role in policymaking.

The governing Social Democrats, led by prime minister Stefan Löfven, maintained their record of finishing first in every election since 1917, but saw their score fall to 28.4%, the lowest since this century, while the main centre-right opposition Moderate party also dropped to 19.8%.

On a positive side for the smaller parties, the Left party and the centre-right Centre and Christian Democrats parties all advanced. And lastly, the Green party barely passed the threshold for parliamentary representation with 4.4%.

But the new government, which could take weeks or months to form, will need either cross-bloc alliances between centre-right and centre-left parties or an accommodation with the Sweden Democrats to pass legislation, potentially giving the Sweden Democrats a say in policy.


With this ongoing uncertainty both blocs, the Social Democrats and the Alliance must compromise or join forces with the Sweden Democrats in order to form a government. By forming coalitions with cross-bloc parties, differences in political or economic values may result in conflict. It is a similar case for the Sweden Democrats, who have been long shunned for their ‘extremist roots’ and conflicted interests.


  • In 2013, 15% of the population was foreign-born, and an additional 5% of the population were born to two immigrant parents.


Henden. “Sweden Election: August Polls COMBINED – Who Is Leading in Sweden as Euroscepticism SOARS.” Express.co.uk, Express.co.uk, 29 Aug. 2018, www.express.co.uk/news/world/1010149/Sweden-election-2018-August-polls-Who-is-leading-Sweden-news-Sweden-Democrats.

The Local. “Sweden’s Final Election Result Delayed by Two Days.” The Local, The Local, 14 Sept. 2018, www.thelocal.se/20180914/swedens-final-election-result-delayed.

Henley, Jon. “Sweden Election: Far Right Makes Gains as Main Blocs Deadlocked.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 10 Sept. 2018, www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/09/swedish-election-far-right-on-course-for-sizeable-gains-in-vote.

Mischke, Judith, et al. “Sweden Braces for Political Uncertainty as Far Right Makes Gains.” POLITICO, 11 Sept. 2018, www.politico.eu/article/swedens-two-main-blocs-neck-and-neck-in-election-exit-poll/.

“Political Parties in Sweden.” Sweden.se, 10 Sept. 2018, sweden.se/society/political-parties-in-sweden/.

Local, TT/The. “Opposition Hits Back at Swedish PM: ‘Alliance Is Still the Biggest’.” The Local, The Local, 16 Sept. 2018, www.thelocal.se/20180916/swedish-opposition-hits-back-at-pm-alliance-is-still-the-biggest-possible-government.

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