Although the Social Democratic Party won the highest percentage of the votes for a single party at 30.3 percent, the right-wing opposition parties, as a bloc, won more votes than the center left. Amongst the conservative parties, the far-right Sweden Democrats took the highest share, at 20.5 percent, with the Moderate Party just behind at 19.1 percent.

Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson was elected prime minister by the Swedish Parliament and will form a center-right coalition government with the Christian Democrats (5.3 percent) and the Liberals (4.6 percent). The Sweden Democrats will not be in the coalition, but the government will count on their support to advance its policy agenda.

Parliamentary Elections

11 September 2022


  • Unicameral parliament (Riksdag) in a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with 349 seats.
  • General elections are held every four years. 310 Riksdag members are directly elected from 29 multi-seat constituencies; the remaining 39 are directly elected in at-large seats. In both cases, there is an open party list proportional representation vote. Regional and municipal elections will be held simultaneously.
  • The speaker of the new Riksdag nominates a candidate for prime minister who they believe is most likely to receive sufficient support in a parliament-wide vote; if the candidate receives fewer than 175 “no” votes, they are confirmed and begin working to build a coalition.
  • Current government coalition: Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson leads a single-party, minority government with only her own Social Democratic Party (100 members).
  • To enter parliament, a party must receive at least four percent of the vote.


  • 8 political parties running in two de-facto blocs that may turn into governing coalitions.
  • Left-center Bloc:
    • Social Democratic Party (S): center-left; social-democratic; pro-labor policies and welfare state; increasingly tough on immigration; feminist foreign policy; pro-EU.
    • Left Party (V): socialism; anti-privatization; feminism; pro-immigration; Euroscepticism.
    • Center Party (C): liberal; free-market economy; active in rural affairs and environmental protection; relatively pro-immigration; pro-EU.
    • Green Party (MP): center-left; socially progressive; pro-environment; soft Euroscepticism.
  • Right-wing Bloc:
    • Sweden Democrats (SD): far-right; nationalist; populist; socially conservative; neo-Nazi roots but has attempted to soften its image; strongly anti-immigration; Eurosceptic; led by Jimmie Akesson.
    • Moderate Party (M): center-right; liberal-conservative; pro-privatization and lower taxation; advocates for more restrictive immigration policies; pro-EU; led by Ulf Kristersson.
    • Christian Democrats (KD): center-right; conservative; pro-business; relatively pro-EU; anti-immigration; focus on education policies.
    • Liberals (L): center-right; increasingly restrictive on migration; strongly pro-EU and support a federal Europe.

Impact on U.S. Interests

  • Sweden and Finland are poised to become the newest members of NATO. Large parties who were historically reluctant to join—the Social Democratic Party and Sweden Democrats—changed their policies after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Two small left-wing parties (the Green and Left parties) remain ambivalent or opposed, but it has not been a major issue in the campaigning and it is highly unlikely the election will result in a reversal of Sweden’s decision.
  • Sweden takes over the six-month, rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union in January 2023. Most large parties are pro-EU, apart from the Sweden Democrats, who are Eurosceptic and have not been supportive of European integration. Their influence on a right-wing government could limit Sweden’s ambition while holding the Council presidency.
  • Swedish parties have condemned the invasion of Ukraine, but Sweden Democrats have often amplified Russian propaganda and its leader Jimmie Akesson has sent mixed messages regarding his views on Vladimir Putin. Relevant government agencies have warned of potential Russian disinformation campaigns linked to the election, though no major incidents have yet been reported.
  • The United States is Sweden’s largest non-European export market. In 2021, the United States imported $14.83 billion in goods from Sweden and exported $5.26 billion in goods to Sweden.

Key Issues to Watch

  • The rise of the far-right: The Moderates have historically been the biggest conservative party but there are indications of losing voters to the far-right Sweden Democrats, who have sought to soften their radical image. The latest polls indicate the Sweden Democrats may surpass the Moderates as the largest right-wing party in Sweden.
  • Center-left coalition formation and the prime minister’s popularity: The historically dominant Social Democratic Party retains the highest support for an individual party and Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson is more popular than her competitors for prime minister (56 percent support). However, the center-left bloc is tenuously aligned, and the Green Party may not pass the four percent threshold. If the center-left wins a majority of seats, Andersson’s Social Democrats will work to court their fellow left-leaning parties, which have divergent policy preferences in areas like energy and taxation, to build a governing coalition. If they fail, they may have the opportunity to continue their current status as a minority government.
  • Right-wing coalition formation: Recent polls show the right-wing bloc neck and neck with the center-left, though the outcome will in part depend on whether either of the left-wing Greens or right-wing Liberals do not meet the four percent threshold. If the right-wing wins the most overall seats, the leader of the Moderates, and current head of the opposition, Ulf Kristersson would likely become the next prime minister and seek to build a coalition. This is true even if his party receives fewer votes than the Sweden Democrats, who lack support from other parties because of their extreme platform. However, due to the number of seats the Sweden Democrats would hold, the Moderates would rely on their support to pass legislation—whether or not the far-right party is formally included in the Moderates’ governing coalition.
  • Focus on crime and immigration: The election’s focus on issues like law and order and immigration has bolstered the performance of the right wing. In a poll conducted by a Swedish university, rising crime rates topped the list of voter priorities, followed by healthcare and immigration. The left-wing parties have tried to focus the conversation on income inequality and environmental issues.
  • Energy crisis: The parties have some differences in addressing Europe’s energy crisis. Prime Minister Andersson has focused on renewables and recently called for decoupling electricity prices on Europe’s electricity market from gas prices; the right-wing has blamed the government for rising energy prices and promised more nuclear power.


Data source: Politico.