Fragmentation of national votes making it harder to form coalitions and pursue policies

Like all elections, Sweden’s has produced a lot of numbers. One number has received more attention than all the rest: 17.6, the percentage of the vote that went to the rightwing, anti-immigrant, nationalist Sweden Democrats – their highest ever score, and enough to make forming a new government a very complicated job for the mainstream parties.

A few other numbers, however, deserve a closer look. The populists advanced by 4.7 percentage points, a strong performance by any standard but very far from the 12-point leap, to around 25%, that they themselves and many pollsters had predicted.

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