Europe

Sweden narrowly re-elects centre-right alliance

  • 20 September 2010
  • From the section Europe
PM Fredrik Reinfeldt greets supporters
Image caption PM Fredrik Reinfeldt says he will not make a deal with the far-right Sweden Democrats

Sweden's governing centre-right alliance has been re-elected, but is short of an overall majority, official preliminary results show.

They show PM Fredrik Reinfeldt's four-party coalition won 173 seats out of 349 in parliament.

The far-right Sweden Democrats are said to have gained more than 4% of the vote, enabling them to enter parliament for the first time.

Mr Reinfeldt declared victory and said he would seek support from the Greens.

The Greens are currently allied with the centre-left Social-Democrats. Green Party spokeswoman Maria Wetterstrand said the opposition bloc remained united.

Social Democratic leader Mona Sahlin has conceded defeat.

"We were not able to win back confidence," she told supporters. "The Alliance is the largest majority. It is now up to Fredrick Reinfeldt how he plans to rule Sweden without letting the Sweden Democrats get political influence."

Mr Reinfeldt reiterated that he would not form a coalition with the far-right.

"I have been clear on how we will handle this uncertain situation," he said. "We will not co-operate, or become dependent on, the Sweden Democrats".

'Media boycott'

Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson said his party would use the opportunity to make itself heard.

Image caption Supporters and members of the Sweden Democrats party were celebrating the results

"We have been subjected to censorship - a media boycott - as we have not been invited to any of the official debates," he said.

"We have in many ways been treated as anything but a political party in this election. But even so, today we stand here with a fantastic result. The situation is a bit uncertain just now, but we have four years ahead of us to speak out on the issues that matter to us and influence Swedish politics."

BBC regional reporter Damien McGuinness says the Sweden Democrats appear to have tapped into voter dissatisfaction over immigration.

Immigrants make up 14% of the country's population of 9.4 million.

The largest immigrant group is from neighbouring Finland, followed by people from Iraq, the former Yugoslavia and Poland.

The centre-left Social Democrats had ruled Sweden for 65 of the past 78 years, and are credited with setting up the country's generous welfare state.

It is the first time a conservative government has won re-election in Sweden for about a century.

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