Protests over Swedish far-right party election gains

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Stockholm to protest against the election to parliament of 20 far-right party members. The Sweden Democrats, who are against immigration and have been accused of racism, claimed 5.7 percent of the vote in Sunday’s elections, denying Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s centre-right Alliance a clear majority.

Reinfeldt has vowed to try to seek support from the Green Party as opposed to joining forces with the Sweden Democrats. The Green Party are, however, allied with the centre-left Social Democrats. Co-chairwoman of the Greens, Maria Wetterstrand, said the opposition block, which has claimed 157 of the 349 seat, is united.

According to Stockholm police, a crowd of 6,000 protesters descended on Sweden’s capital on Monday just hours after the news broke, brandishing placards and shouting “No to racism!” A smaller demonstration was also held in Gothenburg. According to reports, the spontaneous protests were organised through word of mouth and social networking sites such as Facebook.

Mr Reinfeldt’s Alliance, which won 49.3 percent of the vote, is the first non-left wing government to be re-elected in Sweden in almost a century. With only 172 of parliament’s 349 seats, the party has, however, fallen short of a majority.

Speaking to reporters, Reinfeldt said, “We have obviously had a lot of questions on how this electoral result would be managed. There is no need to use words like chaos.”

“My intention is to use the upcoming period to work through the challenges for Sweden. A clear presentation of the government needs to be made available by the beginning of October,” he added.

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