Swedish right opposition inches ahead in election

STORY: Sweden is in the grips of a nail-biter election.

Current prime minister Magdalena Andersson says it’s too close to call.

And her main rival says a preliminary result won’t be ready until Wednesday.

It initially appeared the vote had tipped toward the right-wing bloc by the narrowest of margins - a scenario that would likely make Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson prime minister, with help from an anti-immigration party.

Now the country is waiting to see if it will stick with a known commodity, or lurch to the right.

On the campaign trail, parties battled it out over who was toughest on gang crime following a rise in shootings, surging inflation, and the energy crisis following the invasion of Ukraine.

Magdalena Andersson took the helm as the country’s first female prime minister a year ago, her Social Democrats having been in power for the last eight years.

Moderates leader Kristersson cast himself as the only candidate who could unite the right and unseat her.

Kristersson spent years deepening ties with the Sweden Democrats, an anti-immigration party initially shunned by all others.

The Sweden Democrats, who call for slashing asylum immigration to virtually zero and has white supremacists among its founders, are now increasingly part of the mainstream right.

The prospect of the party having a say in government divided voters.

"I'm fearing very much a repressive, very right-wing government coming. I'm seriously hoping not because we can't have that."

Kristersson has said he would look to possibly form a government with other small parties and only rely on the Sweden Democrats for support in parliament.

Still, negotiations to form a government in a polarized political landscape are likely to be long and difficult.

Overseas and some postal votes are also still yet to be counted and could affect the results.