Far-right party with Neo-Nazi roots makes gains in Swedish elections

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The Sweden Democrats, a party rooted in a neo-Nazi movement but which has been working to soften its image, has been breaking down longstanding taboos surrounding public discourse on immigration and integration.

That translates into a single-seat advantage in the 349-member Riksdag.

An exit poll has indicated that Sweden's first general election since the Scandinavian country accepted a significant number of asylum-seekers was likely to have the centre-left party governing now as its victor, with an anti-immigrant party with white supremacist roots coming second. "We won't participate in letting through a government which doesn't give us influence", he told TV4.

"We paid the price for being in government".

Party leader Jimmie Akesson said the party has "won" Sweden's national election if you looked at the number of seats gained.

The Social Democrats, traditionally the biggest party and who have led a minority government with the Greens, have lost support on both the left and the right and are tipped to post their lowest score since 1911.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, a Social Democrat, has called the election a "referendum on the future of the welfare state" but the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD) have presented it as vote on immigrants and their integration, after Sweden took in nearly 400,000 asylum seekers since 2012.

Social Democrats leader and prime minister Stefan Lofven said "it is only natural to work across the political divide to make it possible to govern", hinting at a left-right grand coalition to bypass the SD.

And earlier today the right-wing populist party reached out to the Moderates and the Christian Democrats from the centre-right bloc - inviting them to negotiate terms if they wanted support.

"In Sweden we live in a false dictatorship because none of the other parties will ever let the Sweden Democrats have any power", he complained, as his colleague Adin shook his head in amused disagreement.

Many Swedes have begun to worry about an erosion of "humanitarian values", which has helped the Sweden Democrat party rise in popularity.

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Sweden - which has a population of around 10 million - took in 163,000 migrants in 2015.

Gains for the far-right are being blamed on voter fears of mass immigration.

The current blocs are the so called "Red-Green" bloc, which was set up by the Social Democrats before the 2010 general election, and the Alliance, which was established by four centre-right parties in 2004.

Lengthy negotiations will follow to attempt to form a workable government. But the process could take weeks and possibly fail. The government's finance minister suggested refugees seek another country in which to claim asylum, while Prime Minister Stefan Löfven announced that the country would crack down on criminals, and the party declared that emergency border security laws from the height of the refugee crisis would be kept in place indefinitely.

"We have been completely clear during the whole election".

The Social Democrats have ruled out cooperating with the Sweden Democrats, but party secretary Richard Jomshof has said they want to be part of government.

Sweden has become accustomed to coalition governments and no one was expecting an outright winning party in this election.

Yet in the same breath, leaders of both sides called for bipartisan accommodation to avoid gridlock in parliament.

Center-left and center-right parties have ruled together only a handful of times since the mid-1930s.

But the Moderates - the biggest party in the Alliance - are not interested in cooperating with the Social Democrats and such a deal would also raise questions about democratic accountability. Whether they were the third biggest party or the biggest party is less important than the fact that they are now sufficiently strong to deprive either of the traditional blocs of a majority.

The Sweden Democrats want to slam the door to new arrivals, pull out of the European Union and significantly increase the rate of deportations.

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