UPDATE Monday 15 September, 11am: We now have a confirmed breakdown of the seats in the Swedish parliament – and the fascist Sweden Democrats have 49 seats, up from 20 in 2010 when they entered parliament for the first time. They are now the third largest party.
The fascists hold the balance of power, as neither of the two main blocs can put together a majority coalition. The combined red-green parties have a total of 158 seats, well short of the 175 needed for an overall majority. Of these, the Social Democrats have 113, the radical Left party has 21 and the Greens 24 seats.
The parties of the centre right coalition that had held power for the past eight years managed 142 seats between them, including just 84 for the main conservative Moderates party. The Moderates are the biggest losers, down 23 MPs on 2010.
Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven is now in negotiations to form a government – it is possible that he will try to include one of the centre right parties to create a majority coalition.
There will still be a broadly leftward shift in government after eight years of centre right rule. But the main movement we can see in the actual vote is the fall in support for the mainstream conservative Moderates – from 30.1% to 23.2% – and the rise of the Sweden Democrats from 5.7% to 12.9%.
Sweden’s voters have reacted against the austerity regime of the mainstream right, but the Social Democrats and the more radical Left party have made only marginal gains. The left alternative has not been strong enough – and discontented voters have instead been pulled by the racist scapegoating of the fascist Sweden Democrats.
The hardcore nazi street thugs of the Svenskarnas Parti (Party of the Swedes) lost their only local council seat last night. There have been huge antifascist mobilisations recently against this small group and the similar Swedish Resistance Movement.
But there has not been a mass campaign against the suited fascists of the Sweden Democrats, who follow the “Eurofascist” strategy, hiding their real politics to appear “respectable” despite their clear Nazi and white supremacist roots.
Now the Sweden Democrats have shown their strength – and their frightening potential to grow very fast – a serious sustained campaign against them is urgently needed. Antifascists and antiracists are set to demonstrate against the Sweden Democrats this evening – let’s hope this is the start of a mass campaign that can begin to push this fascist party back again.
FINAL RESULTS 12 midnight:
The fascist Sweden Democrat party is celebrating a surge in its vote tonight, after more than doubling its vote to 12.9% in Sweden’s elections – this is bad news for antifascists across Europe.
With just four of the 5,837 electoral districts still to complete their count, these are very close to the final results:
In 2010, the Sweden Democrats entered parliament for the first time, winning 20 MPs with 5.7% of the vote. Now they have surged to 12.9%, and stormed into third place. They are likely to have around 47 seats in the new parliament.
The red-green coalition of Social Democrats, Greens and the radical Left party has beaten the ruling centre right alliance. The red-greens are expected to form the next government, but neither side has an outright majority. In this situation the fascists, who hold the balance of power, are seeking to be the “kingmakers” – a dangerous prospect.
The Sweden Democrat vote was highest in Skåne county (18%) and Blekinge county (18.6%) in the far south of Sweden – in Blekinge, the fascists were only narrowly beaten into third place by the Moderates on 19.3%. In at least three smaller districts, the fascists scored between 27% and 30%.
UPDATE: 11.20pm: Antifascist demonstrations have been called for tomorrow, in protest at the huge vote for the fascist Sweden Democrats, in Gothenburg, Malmö and Stockholm – check twitter for details.
Here’s a bit more detail on where the Sweden Democrat vote has come from, while we wait for the last few districts to finish counting the votes. The fascists are set to end up with around 13% – a huge rise on 5.7% last time. They will get around 47 MPs, up from 20 in the 2010 elections – they had no seats at all in 2006.
The broadcaster SVT has released figures based on their exit poll, showing how voters said their vote has changed between 2010 and now – although it is worth noting that the Sweden Democrats have outperformed their exit poll figure substantially (see details of the exit poll below).
Of the Sweden Democrat voters this time, 41% voted for the fascist party last time too. In fact the SVT survey shows the party kept the highest proportion of its voters – 79%, just ahead of the Social Democrats who kept 78%.
But nearly one in three Sweden Democrat voters (29%) has come over from the Moderates – the main party in the ruling centre right coalition, which has imposed austerity, cuts to the welfare state and attacks on education.
Another 16% of the Sweden Democrats vote this time is made up of people who have switched from the Social Democrats.
The fascist Sweden Democrat party has taken 13% of the votes, with counting complete in 5,784 out of the 5,837 electoral districts – a record vote and more than twice the 5.7% they gained in 2010.
The fascists are celebrating: more than one in eight voters has chosen the Sweden Democrats. And with neither the centre right coalition that has been in power for the past eight years nor the Social Democrat-led red-green coalition set to win an overall majority, the fascists are crowing about the decisive role they hope to play.
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson gloated: “We are going to be a powerful kingmaker. They can’t stop us.”
Åkesson’s party is the only one to make a substantial increase on their vote last time round – up 7.3 percentage points. The Social Democrats are a marginal 0.4 points up to 31.2%, while the Feminist party has gained a bigger 2.7 points to take 3.1% – but not enough to win a seat. The radical Left party is up 0.1 points to 5.7%.
Votes for all other parties have fallen. The main losers are the centre right Moderates, down 6.7 points to 23.2%. Moderates leader Fredrik Reinfeldt has stepped down as prime minister after eight years in power.
This is a bad night for antifascists in Sweden. The fascist Sweden Democrat party is on 13% with votes counted at 4,998 of the 5,837 electoral districts for today’s elections. That is well over double the 5.7% the party took in 2010 and would give them 47 MPs – up from 20 in the last parliament.
This vote puts the fascists easily in third place, behind the Social Democrats and the centre right Moderates party. Last time round, the Sweden Democrats were in sixth place, with the Greens, the Liberals and the Centre party all coming in ahead.
The third place slot and big increase in its vote makes the Sweden Democrat party a potential power broker, given that neither the previous centre right governing coalition nor the centre left is expected to take an overall majority.
Polling data for the SVT broadcaster apparently shows that a third of the Sweden Democrats’ votes have come from people who voted for the centre right Moderates – the main party in the ruling coalition – in 2010.
In Blekinge County, in the far south of Sweden, the fascist party is neck and neck with the Moderates in the battle for second place. With 85 of the county’s 93 districts counted so far, the Moderates are on 19% with the Sweden Democrats on 8.7% – both behind the Social Democrats with 37.7%.
The fascist Sweden Democrat party looks set to surpass even the 10.5% vote shown in an exit poll tonight, as early results put it on 13.3% with votes counted in 3,708 of Sweden’s 5,837 electoral districts.
This figure smashes straight through the 5.7% the Sweden Democrats took in 2010 – it is a historic vote for the fascist party, picking up more than one in eight votes.
Turnout is 83.3% across the districts where votes have been counted so far.
The fascist Sweden Democrat party look to have scored a record vote and nearly doubled its number of MPs, an exit poll shows.
The poll released as voting closed in today’s national and local elections in Sweden, put the Sweden Democrats on 10.5% – dramatically up from 5.7% in 2010, when it won 20 seats in parliament.
If the exit poll for the SVT national broadcaster is correct, the fascist party will be the third largest in parliament.
Overall, a centre-left coalition led by the Social Democrats is expected to narrowly defeat the ruling centre right alliance. But the Sweden Democrats’ substantial vote could give them the balance of power, with neither mainstream bloc expected to gain an overall majority.
As with the far right across Europe, the Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraternas) use nationalism and racism – mainly aimed against Muslims and immigrants – to win support. It is a fascist party with origins in Nazi and white supremacist organisations.
The elections are expected to see a change of government, with the centre-left likeliest to take power, reflecting public anger at the previous government’s regime of austerity, and attacks on the welfare state, and the introduction of profit-making firms into schools.
But the Sweden Democrats’ gains show how fascism can feed and grow amid bitterness over austerity too.
There have been huge mobilisations recently against the much smaller street-fighting fascist groups, the Swedish Resistance Movement and Party of the Swedes.
But there has been little attempt to organise in a large scale way against the Sweden Democrats, which have followed the “Eurofascist” strategy pioneered by the Front National in France and cleaned up their image in order to make electoral gains.
Fascism traditionally operates a twin-track strategy, seeking to build electorally as well as developing a street movement. The Sweden Democrats’ gains will give encouragement to the boot boys on the streets, as they see their racism legitimised in parliament.
We will update this post as the confirmed results of the elections come through.