Sweden’s Social Democrat prime minister, Magdalena Andersson, accepted defeat on Wednesday after a close-fought election, handing the four-party right-wing opposition bloc victory and first go at forming a new government.
“I will therefore tomorrow ask the speaker to be relieved of my post,” Andersson told reporters during a news conference. The Moderates, Sweden Democrats, Christian Democrats and Liberals had held a one-seat lead after Sunday’s election but looked like getting 176 seats in the 349-seat parliament to the centre-left’s 173 seats, according to the latest figures from the election authority.
The result still has to be officially confirmed, probably by the weekend. The election marks a watershed in Swedish politics with the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, shunned by all the major parties when they first entered parliament in 2010, on the threshold of gaining influence over government policy.
They look set to win 20.6% of the vote, overtaking the Moderates, who got 19.1%, as the biggest party on the right. Though Kristersson’s party is smaller, Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Akesson cannot get the broad backing from the right needed to oust the Social Democrats.