A strong showing by the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats in the Swedish elections on September 9 drained away so many votes from the establishment parties that the two main parliamentary blocs were left virtually tied and far short of a governing majority.
The Sweden Democrats won 17.5% of the vote and emerged as the third-largest party in the country, according to the official election results released on September 16. The result, a 4.6% improvement on the 12.9% it won in 2014, placed the Sweden Democrats into a situation of holding the balance of power in the next parliament.
Incumbent Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s center-left Social Democrats came in first, with 28.3% of the vote — the party’s worst result in more than 100 years. The center-right Moderate party came in second, with 19.8% of the vote, a 3.5% drop from 2014.
With eight political parties in the Swedish Parliament, the establishment parties traditionally have organized themselves into two rival parliamentary blocs: On the left, the Social Democrats and their allies garnered 40.7% of the vote. On the right, the Moderates and their allies won 40.3% of the vote.