An exit poll has indicated that Sweden's first general election since the Scandinavian country accepted a significant number of asylum-seekers was likely to have the centre-left party governing now as its victor, with an anti-immigrant party with white supremacist roots coming second.
Sweden headed for a hung parliament after an election on Sunday that saw support for the nationalist Sweden Democrats surge, as one of Europe's most liberal nations turned right amid fears over immigration. It was unlikely any single party would secure a majority of 175 seats.
The process of forming a stable government out of the deadlocked parliament could take weeks and, potentially, end in failure.
The Social Democrats have led a minority government with the Greens since 2014, with the informal support of the ex-communist Left Party to pass legislation.
Sweden took in more asylum seekers per capita than any other country in Europe in 2015, magnifying worries about a welfare system that many voters already believe is in crisis.
The potentially promising prospects of the far-right Sweden Democrats had many other Swedes anxious about an erosion of the humanitarian values that have always been a foundation of the Scandinavian country's identity.
Sweden's Prime Minister and leader of the Social democrat party Stefan Lofven speaks at an election party at the Fargfabriken art hall in Stockholm, Sweden September 9, 2018.
Extracts from Bob Woodward's explosive new book, Fear
The book paints a rather negative view of the Trump administration , highlighting the chaos within the White House . For example, a Trump tweet about the Korean crisis alarmed the Pentagon, the author said.
During a heated debate among party leaders Friday, Akesson caused a stir by blaming migrants for the difficulties they often have in finding employment and not adjusting to Sweden.
The Sweden Democrats, with roots in the neo-Nazi movement, has said the large number of asylum-seekers presents a threat to Swedish culture and claims they put a strain on the country's generous welfare state.
Marine Le Pen of France's far-right National Rally - formerly known as the National Front - hailed the Swedish party's rise, tweeting: "Yet another bad night ahead for the European Union".
Neither the governing Social Democrats nor the centre-right bloc of parties are predicted to win a majority.
A partial tally of the vote by the Election Authority is due between 2000 and 2100 GMT.
"Sweden needs breathing space, we need tight responsible immigration policies". As freelance journalist Sidsel Overgaard reported for NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday: "Sweden does not track the ethnicity of perpetrators, so making a connection between immigration and crime is a largely speculative exercise".
People watch and react at the Social Democratic Party's election party in Stockholm. About 6,300 candidates sought the four-year terms. It's more that we have had an integration issue for maybe 20 years.
Sabina Macri, voting in central Stockholm, said the current political situation has left her questioning her future in Sweden. "No one can take that away from us", he said, according to The Guardian. "I want an Alliance government, but it will not happen in cooperation with the Sweden Democrats", Bjorklund said Sunday.