Sweden’s prime minister says she will resign after her government was defeated in elections on Sunday.
Magdalena Andersson’s centre-left coalition appears to narrowly lose to a bloc of right-wing parties, 176 seats to 173, with 99% of the votes counted. The leader of the Moderate Party, Ulf Kristersson, is now expected to form a government.
The bloc includes the Sweden Democrats, a far-right party campaigning against rising gang shootings.
The final result still needs to be confirmed after a recount, which is standard practice in Sweden. But despite this, Andersson conceded defeat at a news conference on Wednesday and said she would officially resign on Thursday.
“In parliament, they have an advantage of one or two seats,” she said. “It’s a small majority, but it’s a majority.”
The hard-fought election campaign was dominated by gangs, immigration and integration issues, and high electricity prices. Ms Andersson was the Nordic nation’s first female prime minister; she quit the first day before returning shortly after.
A four-party right-wing block has edged her out made up of the Sweden Democrats, Moderate Party, Christian Democrats and Liberals.
It is a momentous turning point for Swedish politics – the Sweden Democrats were once treated as a pariah by political parties but has now won around 20% of the vote.
It vowed to “make Sweden safe again” by bringing in longer prison sentences and restricting immigration.
However, the party’s leader Jimmie Akesson will not become prime minister, the BBC’s Maddy Savage reports from Stockholm because he does not have the full support of all four parties.
Instead, Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Moderates, has said he will start to form a government.
“I am ready to do all I can to form a new, stable and vigorous government for the whole of Sweden and all its citizens,” Mr Kristersson said on Wednesday.
The Sweden Democrats party was born out of a neo-Nazi movement at the end of the 1980s but has slowly grown stronger while attempting to polish its image. In 2019 Mr Kristersson started talks with the party to ally – a move which has changed Sweden’s political landscape.
Ms Andersson told reporters that she understood those concerned about the party’s growing popularity. “I see your concern, and I share it,” she said.
Magdalena Andersson’s Social Democrats had governed Sweden since 2014 and dominated the country’s political landscape since the 1930s.
Sunday’s vote was one of the closest elections ever in Sweden, with thousands of overseas and postal votes needed to be counted to get a clearer picture of who the winner was.