Sweden’s center-left Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven emerged as victor in Sunday’s general election after a voter backlash against tax cuts and trimmed welfare by a center-right government, but he fell short of a parliamentary majority.
The Nordic region’s biggest economy and one of the few star performers in Europe now faces a weak minority government with a possible political impasse as the anti-immigrant far right emerged as the third biggest party to hold the balance of power.
Lofven’s Social Democrats and two other opposition parties, the Greens and Left, garnered 43.7 percent of the vote, against 39.3 percent for Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s coalition. That means a government with limited clout to pass bills.
Lofven told supporters he would begin coalition talks with the Greens, but also reach out to other parties.
“We are in serious situation. We have thousands of people unemployed, We have school results that are declining more than in any other OECD country,” Lofven said. “There is something that is breaking. Now Sweden has answered that we need a change.”