A right-wing bloc which includes a nationalist anti-immigration party has won a narrow majority in Sweden’s parliament. Center-left Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson conceded defeat on Wednesday. She stepped down Thursday.
The Scandinavian country has welcomed refugees for decades. But amid a crime wave linked to immigration, Sweden turned to right-wing parties for solutions, Koin reports.
Populist Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson declared victory for the four-party bloc.
“Now it will be enough with the failed Social Democratic policy that for eight years has continued to lead the country in the wrong direction,” Akesson said. “It is time to start rebuilding security, welfare and cohesion. It is time to put Sweden first. The Sweden Democrats will be a constructive and driving force in this work.”
The Sweden Democrats were founded in the 1980s by neo-Nazis but moved into the mainstream by expelling extremists. It gained support with a tough-on-crime and anti-immigration stance, according to Koin.
Gun violence has spread across the country from the immigrant-dominated suburbs of Sweden’s three largest cities — Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo.
In eight days in May, three young men were shot dead in a small neighbourhood in Orebro, reflective of a wave of gang violence that’s spread from big cities to small towns — which topped voters’ concerns, Reuters reports.
Some voters blamed Anderssom’s Social Democrats, who have been in power for eight years, for the high crime rates.
Ulf Kristersson, the leader of Sweden’s third largest party, the Moderates, who’s considered a possible prime minister, thanked voters for their trust.
“Now we will get Sweden in order,” he wrote on Facebook.
“The Moderates and the other parties on my side have received the mandate for the change that we asked for. I am now starting the work of forming a new, effective government.”
“Now the work begins to make Sweden good again,” he said.
The tally gave the right-wing bloc 176 seats in the 349-parliament and Andersson’s center-left bloc with 173 seats. A majority in Sweden requires 175 seats.