Sweden’s far-right Democrats look set to cause a huge upheaval in the country’s neck and neck election cliffhanger.
The populist anti-immigration party, which emerged from the neo-Nazi movement in the late 1980s, has raised its polls in each of the past nine elections, and Sunday appeared to have won 21% of the vote this year, according to nearly results final.
If this is found to have happened after the full count, they will become the second largest party in the country.
Then a bloc of right-wing parties, including the Sweden Democrats, should defeat a leftist bloc led by Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and form a government.
However, the result was so close that the electoral authority said it would not be known until Wednesday when some uncounted votes, including those cast abroad, would have been counted.
Exit polls initially predicted victory for the incumbent left-wing coalition, but the results then suggested the right-wing bloc could narrowly win.
Currently, with 94% of the vote counted, the right-wing bloc appears to hold a lead of less than a percentage point over the ruling centre-left group led by Prime Minister Ms Andersson.
Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson told supporters at an event in Stockholm that he was “proud” to be on track to become the country’s second largest party.
While his party has its roots in the white nationalist movement, years ago it began kicking out extremists.
But despite his rebranding, voters have long deemed him unacceptable and other parties have shunned him.
That has changed lately, and experts say his result in this election shows how far he has come to be accepted. During the campaign, his tough law and order and immigration policies began to attract centre-right support.
Mr Akesson is unlikely to become prime minister even if the right-wing bloc wins the most seats. The four parties in the group will pick the cabinet posts and Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson is the current favorite to take on the role, but will have a tricky line to walk between all parties – especially the one with more votes than his.