The Swedish right-wing opposition is inches ahead of an electoral cliff

Early Monday morning, the moderates, Sweden Democrats, Christian Democrats and Liberals won 176 seats in the 349-seat parliament, while the center-left won 173 seats.

In further evidence of the shift to the right, the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats are poised to overtake the moderates to become Sweden’s second-largest party and the largest in opposition — a historic shift in a country that has long prided itself on tolerance and openness. .

Nevertheless, moderate leader Ulf Kristerson is likely to be the right-wing candidate for prime minister.

“We don’t know what the outcome will be,” Christerson told supporters. “But I am ready to do everything in my power to create a new, stable and vigorous government for the whole of Sweden and all its citizens.”

With overseas and some postal votes still not counted and the margin between the two constituencies slim, the results could still change.

Christensen has said that he is seeking to form a government with the smaller Christian Democrats and Liberals, and that he is counting on the support of the Sweden Democrats in parliament. But it may be difficult for him to hold a party that is bigger than his own.

“Now it looks like there will be a change of power. Our ambition is to sit in government,” Sweden Democratic Party leader Jimmy Akesson told cheering supporters at a post-election party.

Social Democratic Prime Minister Magdalena Andersen did not concede defeat on election night, saying the results were too close.

The Election Commission said that the preliminary results will be released on Wednesday.

Whichever team wins, negotiations to form a government will be long and difficult in a polarized and sensitive political landscape.

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