Sweden goes to the polls on Sunday with two rival blocs in a tight race, and strong gains projected for the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats in the 349-seat parliament.
Polls have suggested that a left-leaning bloc led by Prime Minister Stefan Lofven’s ruling Social Democrats has a slight edge over the rival four-party centre-right opposition known as the Alliance.
The formation of a new government is predicted to be complicated since neither bloc is projected to secure a majority.
Both the Social Democrats and the Green Party, their junior coalition partner, have seen support slide in office when they have mainly relied on support from the Left Party.
The Alliance – the conservative Moderate Party, the Liberal Party, the Centre Party and the Christian Democrats – wants conservative leader Ulf Kristersson to replace Lofven.
Looming on the sidelines are the Sweden Democrats, who are projected to increase their share of the vote. They garnered 13 per cent in 2014, and the party has gained ground amid a debate on immigration and crime rates.
Lofven’s government tightened immigration rules in late 2015 after the massive influx of migrants fleeing conflict in countries such as Syria.
The Sweden Democrats are pushing for a say on the incoming government’s policies. Other parties have said they will not co-operate with them, citing their strong racist roots.
About 7.4 million voters are eligible to vote for parliament.