Opinion polls predict a skinny lead for Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson’s Social Democrats and the left bloc towards the Sweden Democrats.
Sweden is voting in an election pitting the incumbent centre-left Social Democrats towards a right-wing bloc that has embraced an anti-immigration stance.
Opinion polls predicted a razor-thin lead for Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson’s Social Democrats and an allied left-wing bloc after a marketing campaign dominated by rising gang shootings and hovering electrical energy costs.
Polling stations opened at 8am (06:00 GMT) and shut at 8pm (18:00 GMT) with remaining outcomes anticipated to be introduced shortly thereafter.
An opinion ballot revealed on the weekend by the Aftonbladet newspaper noticed Andersson’s camp at 49.6 p.c of the vote and the conservative bloc, which incorporates the far-right Sweden Democrats at 49.4 p.c of the vote.
With steadily rising numbers of shootings unnerving voters, campaigning noticed events battle to be the hardest on gang crime, however surging inflation and the vitality disaster within the wake of the invasion of Ukraine have more and more taken centre stage.
Legislation and order is residence turf for the fitting, however gathering financial storm clouds as households and firms face sky-high energy costs might increase Andersson, seen as a secure pair of palms and extra in style than her personal get together.
“My clear message is: Throughout the pandemic, we supported Swedish firms and households. I’ll act in the very same method once more if I get your renewed confidence,” Andersson, 55, mentioned final week in one of many remaining debates forward of the vote.
Andersson was finance minister for a few years earlier than changing into Sweden’s first feminine prime minister a 12 months in the past. Her foremost rival is the Moderates’ chief Ulf Kristersson, who sees himself as the one one who can unite the fitting and unseat her.
“We are going to prioritise legislation and order, making it worthwhile to work, and construct new climate-smart nuclear energy,” Kristersson mentioned in a video posted by his get together. “Merely put, we wish to kind Sweden out.”
Zeth Isaksson, a sociologist specialising in electoral behaviour at Stockholm College, advised the AP information company that Andersson’s picture has benefitted from her expertise in authorities.
“Magdalena Andersson is without doubt one of the most essential elements on this election,” Isaksson mentioned.
Kristersson has spent years deepening ties with the Sweden Democrats, an anti-immigration get together with white supremacists amongst its founders. Initially shunned by all different events, the Sweden Democrats at the moment are more and more a part of the mainstream proper.
For a lot of centre-left voters – and even some on the fitting – the prospect of Jimmie Akesson’s Sweden Democrats having a say on authorities coverage or becoming a member of the cupboard stays deeply unsettling, and the election is seen partly as a referendum over whether or not to present them that energy.
“I’m fearing very a lot a repressive, very right-wing authorities coming,” mentioned Malin Ericsson, 53, a journey advisor outdoors a voting station in central Stockholm.
Paediatrician Erik George, 52, mentioned he thought the election marketing campaign had been marked by an increase in populism.
“I feel that occasions are actually tumultuous and folks have a tough time determining what’s happening,” he mentioned outdoors the voting station.
Uncertainty looms giant over the election, with each blocs going through lengthy, onerous negotiations to type a authorities in a polarised and emotionally charged political panorama.
Andersson will want assist from the Centre and Left events, who’re ideological opposites, and possibly the Inexperienced Celebration as nicely, if she desires a second time period as prime minister.
“I’ve fairly few crimson traces,” Annie Loof, whose Centre Celebration break up with Kristersson over his embrace of the Sweden Democrats, mentioned in a latest SVT interview.
“One crimson line I do have is that I’ll by no means let by means of a authorities that offers the Sweden Democrats affect.”