Sweden’s incumbent Social Democrats prime minister Magdalena Andersson resigned on Wednesday after conceding defeat in a closely fought election, making way for a bloc of anti-immigration, right-wing parties.
Ms Andersson, who was the Nordic country’s first woman prime minister and led the nation’s historic bid to join Nato, announced she would step down with less than 0.1 per cent of votes remaining to be counted.
“Tomorrow [Thursday] I will therefore request my dismissal as prime minister and the responsibility for the continued process will now pass to the parliament speaker and the Riksdag,” Ms Andersson said.
She added that “the preliminary result is clear enough to draw a conclusion” that her centre-left forces had lost power.
“In parliament, they have a one- or two-seat advantage,” Ms Andersson said. “It’s a thin majority, but it is a majority.”
The outgoing prime minister pointed out that despite losing the majority, the Social Democrats retained more than 30 per cent of the vote.
Ms Andersson was a popular leader, but citizens have been reportedly concerned over the rise in crime rates in segregated districts that are home to large numbers of immigrants.
Populist Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson declared victory for the bloc, adding his party would be “a constructive and driving force” in the work of rebuilding safety in Sweden. It was “time to put Sweden first”, he said.
“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,” Mr Akesson said.
The right bloc of four parties – 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.
Ulf Kristersson, the leader of the Moderate Party, is expected to lead the bloc and form a government. “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,” Mr Kristersson said.
Although there has been no formal agreement between the parties about how they would govern the nation, centre-right parties have said they will not approve ministerial positions for the far-right Sweden Democrats.
In a major shift in Swedish politics, the Sweden Democrats, who were once shunned by the citizens due to being founded in the 1980s by neo-Nazis, garnered nearly 20 per cent of the vote.