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Swedish voters on Sunday gave a razor-thin majority to a coalition of right-wing political parties amid anger over rising gang violence in largely immigrant neighborhoods, according to early projections.
On Monday, a conservative opposition bloc including the populist, anti-immigration party, the Sweden Democrats, had an extremely narrow lead over the incumbent center-left with 94% of the votes counted.
Analysts expect the final tally will confirm a conservative bloc win, but the election was so close that electoral officials said they would not have the final result until outstanding postal votes and votes from abroad are counted.
With eight parties contending for seats in the 349-member Riksdag, Sweden’s parliament, none can secure a majority of 175 seats, meaning that laws can only be passed with different parties working together.
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The not-yet-final count indicated that the conservative bloc would have 175 seats and the center-left would have 174. According to preliminary figures, the Sweden Democrats won 20.6% support in Sunday’s vote – up from 17.5% four years ago.
The results so far mark a significant success for the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats, which won its best result since entering parliament in 2010. Sweden Democrats’ founders in the 1980s had links to neo-Nazi movements, but the party has since purged its radical elements under the leadership of 43-year-old Jimmie Akesson.
Those who support Sweden Democrats like the party’s tough vows to crack down on crime and limit immigration. Opponents, meanwhile, fear that the party’s fascist roots will rear their ugly head, threatening Sweden’s democratic identity.
Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson’s Social Democrats, who have been in power in Sweden since 2014, remain the largest party, even gaining slightly to take more than 30% of the vote Sunday, according to the incomplete results.
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This year so far there have been 273 shootings, 47 of them fatal, according to police statistics. Those shootings also wounded 74 people, including innocent bystanders, in the nation of about 10 million.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.