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Sweden's electoral indecision

Covers of Swedish magazines about the election
Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP via Getty Images

Sweden's Social Democrats, who led the previous government with a center-left coalition, had their worst election performance since World War I, but are neck-and-neck with a center-right coalition led by the Moderate Party.

What to watch: The far-right Sweden Democrats, who came in third, will likely be cut out of any forthcoming coalition, but will still hold enough seats to sway decisive votes in parliament.

  • Notable, from populism expert Cas Mudde: "Voter streams of #SwedenDemocrats show that they held on to almost all its 2014 voters and won almost exclusively, and equally, from [the Social Democrats] and [Moderates]."

Summing it up, via Politico's Brussels Playbook: "In other words, there’s no winner. The coming weeks will be a Choose Your Own Adventure route to minority government. IKEA doesn’t provide a manual for that sort of construction."

The big picture: The buzzword among analysts today has been "fragmentation," the fact that — across Europe — the biggest political parties are getting smaller and smaller political parties are getting bigger as more targeted options are presented to voters.

  • Worth reading: This Twitter thread from academic Sarah de Lange details the phenomenon and provides greater context.
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