Sweden’s Social Democrat Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson accepted defeat on Wednesday after a close-fought election, handing the four-party right-wing opposition bloc victory and the first go at forming a new government.
With 99% of the vote counted, only a handful of votes remain unassigned, but Andersson, who became Sweden’s first woman PM last year, said the results showed her opponents have won.
“I will therefore tomorrow ask the speaker to be relieved of my post,” Andersson told reporters during a news conference.
The Moderates, Sweden Democrats, Christian Democrats and Liberals had held a one-seat lead after Sunday’s election but looked like they were getting 176 seats in the 349-seat parliament to the centre-left’s 173 seats, according to the latest figures from the election authority.
The result still has to be officially confirmed.
The election marks a watershed in Swedish politics with the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, shunned by all the major parties when they first entered parliament in 2010, on the threshold of gaining influence over government policy.
They look set to win 20.6% of the vote, overtaking the Moderates, who got 19.1%, as the biggest party on the right.
Though Kristersson’s party is smaller, the populist Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Akesson cannot get the broad backing from the right needed to oust the Social Democrats.
Yet Akesson said on Wednesday night his party would be “a constructive and driving force in this work” of rebuilding safety in Sweden, adding it was “time to put Sweden first”.