2018 Swedish general election

General elections were held in Sweden on 9 September 2018 to elect the 349 members of the Riksdag. Regional and municipal elections were also held on the same day. The incumbent minority government, consisting of the Social Democrats and the Greens and supported by the Left Party, won 144 seats, one seat more than the four-party Alliance coalition, with the Sweden Democrats winning the remaining 62 seats. The Social Democrats' vote share fell to 28.3 percent, its lowest level of support since 1911.

2018 Swedish general election

 2014 9 September 2018 2022 

All 349 seats in the Riksdag
175 seats needed for a majority
Opinion polls
Turnout6,532,063 (87.1%)
1.3pp
  First party Second party Third party
 
Leader Stefan Löfven Ulf Kristersson Jimmie Åkesson
Party Social Democrats Moderate Sweden Democrats
Alliance Red-Greens The Alliance
Leader since 27 January 2012 1 October 2017 7 May 2005
Leader's seat Västernorrland Södermanland Jönköping
Last election 113 seats, 31.0% 84 seats, 23.3% 49 seats, 12.9%
Seats before 113 84 49
Seats won 100 70 62
Seat change 13 14 13
Popular vote 1,830,386 1,284,698 1,135,627
Percentage 28.3% 19.8% 17.5%
Swing 2.7pp 3.5pp 4.6pp

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
 
Leader Annie Lööf Jonas Sjöstedt Ebba Busch Thor
Party Centre Left Christian Democrats
Alliance The Alliance The Alliance
Leader since 23 September 2011 6 January 2012 25 April 2015
Leader's seat Jönköping Västerbotten
Last election 22 seats, 6.1% 21 seats, 5.7% 16 seats, 4.6%
Seats before 22 21 16
Seats won 31 28 22
Seat change 9 7 6
Popular vote 557,500 518,454 409,478
Percentage 8.6% 8.0% 6.3%
Swing 2.5pp 2.3pp 1.7pp

  Seventh party Eighth party
 
Leader Jan Björklund Isabella Lövin
Gustav Fridolin
Party Liberals Green
Alliance The Alliance Red-Greens
Leader since 7 September 2007 13 May 2016
21 May 2011
Leader's seat Stockholm County
Last election 19 seats, 5.4% 25 seats, 6.9%
Seats before 19 25
Seats won 20 16
Seat change 1 9
Popular vote 355,546 285,899
Percentage 5.5% 4.4%
Swing 0.1pp 2.5pp

The main opposition, the Moderates, lost even more support. The Sweden Democrats made gains, though less than anticipated.[1][2][3][4][5][6] Regardless, the party became the largest in two constituencies in southern region Scania and topped the polls in 21 out of 33 Scanian municipalities and in 31 out of 290 municipalities overall.[7] The voter turnout of 87.18%[7] was the highest in 33 years and 1.38 percentage points higher than the 2014 elections. A record 26 out of 29 constituencies returned a hung parliament.[7] 46% of seats were won by women (161 out of 349).[8] The number has since increased to 47.2% (165 out of 349).[9]

Following the elections, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven lost a vote of no-confidence on 25 September, forcing a parliamentary vote on a new government. In the meantime, his government remained in power as a caretaker government.[10] Speaker Andreas Norlén nominated Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson to form a government on 9 November. However, Kristersson lost a vote to confirm him in office by a margin of 154–195. He was supported by his own Moderate Party, the Christian Democrats and the Sweden Democrats, despite having ruled out this scenario before the election, but the Liberals and the Centre Party, the other parties in the centre-right Alliance, were not willing to form a government reliant on the Sweden Democrats.[11][12] On 15 November, Norlén invited Centre Party leader Annie Lööf to try to form a government, but she was unable to do so. Norlén then nominated Löfven, but following unsuccessful negotiations with the Centre Party and the Liberals he lost a confirmation vote 116–200 on 14 December.[13]

Hours after the failed vote to confirm Löfven, Norlén announced that he would be meeting with representatives of the Election Authority regarding a potential extraordinary election. The Speaker also stated that he would be engaging in talks with the parties during the weekend and that he would present the next phase of the government formation process by the following week.[14] Löfven was finally re-elected with a 115–153 result as Prime Minister on 18 January 2019 after the Social Democrats struck an agreement with the Greens, the Liberals, and the Centre Party;[15] and after the Left Party reluctantly agreed to abstain from voting against Löfven.[15] Due to Sweden's principle of negative parliamentarism this result was enough, as less than the majority of the parliament voted against him, while the supporting parties abstained. The result saw a breakup of the Alliance with the remaining right-wing parties aligning closer with the Sweden Democrats in parliament.

With the government being down to 116 seats (59 short of a majority), this rendered it the government with the lowest electoral support to begin a term during universal suffrage in Sweden and forced to approve several liberal policy platforms the government had campaigned against.[16] With the right-wing opposition having 154 seats, to the coalition and confidence and supply agreements' 167 and the Left Party's 28, it still rendered a hung parliament even after the government formation, which exposed the government to high-profile losses in parliament.[17] With the Liberals leaving the confidence and supply after a no-confidence vote in 2021, the de facto parliamentary blocs ended being 175 to 174 with the de facto majority for the red-greens being 0.1%. The metropolitan versus small town divide got stronger. With the 2021 constellations, the election saw Södermanland and Västmanland retroactively flip to the right for the first time during universal suffrage dating back a century, while also Blekinge went blue for the first time in the unicameral era.[7] Meanwhile, the six largest municipalities had leftist majorities.[7]


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