Mainstream parties shrink in Sweden election

Sweden's electorate fragmented at the ballot box, delivering a less-impressive showing for the far right than anticipated by polls—and a better one for the Left Party. The anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats still made big gains, though, leaving the country's mainstream parties at a weak ebb and raising the possibility of a hung parliament.

Sweden looked set for a period of political confusion after election results on Sunday put a center-right bloc and the governing center-left coalition neck and neck, while a far-right, anti-immigration party came in third — winning a higher percentage of the vote than ever before, but achieving less of a breakthrough than polls had suggested.

With more than 99 percent of ballots counted, the national election commission reported that the governing center-left Social Democrats had 28.4 percent of the vote, making it the largest single vote-getter, but handing the party its worst showing in decades.

The center-right Moderate party was next at 19.8 percent, while the far-right Sweden Democrats were running third, with 17.6 percent, up from 12.9 percent in 2014 but a less successful showing than many Swedes had feared.

This months-old tweet from UK political researcher Rob Ford is doing the rounds:

English-language media had their "far right wins big in Sweden" stories all ready to go, and some are now having trouble backing off that simple narratives now the reality is more complex. It's not just the Left Party that is ignored: the Center Party--libertarian farmers, basically--also ate a chunk of mainstream factions.

The graphic up top is from Reuters. *slaps roof of Swedish political spectrum* This bad boy can fit so many parties in it.

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