Danish voters ponder immigration, climate and welfare issues | AFP

Voters cast their ballots in Copenhagen for a general election in which the opposition Social Democrats are tipped to return to power after adopting the right wing’s long-standing restrictive stance on immigration.

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Denmark Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen casts his vote in general election | AFP

Danish Prime Minister and head of the ruling Liberal Party, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, casts her vote in Copenhagen in a general election where climate concerns top the agenda. The opposition Social Democrats are tipped to return to power after adopting the right wing’s long-standing restrictive stance on immigration. IMAGES

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Social Democrats leader casts her vote in Danish general election | AFP

The leader of Denmark’s opposition centre-left Social Democrats, Mette Frederiksen, casts her vote in Copenhagen in a general election where climate concerns top the agenda. The Social Democrats are tipped to return to power after adopting the right wing’s long-standing restrictive stance on immigration. IMAGES

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Polls open in Danish elections | AFP

Polls open in Denmark’s general election with the opposition Social Democrats predicted to return to power after adopting the right wing’s long-standing restrictive stance on immigration. IMAGES

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Sweden: Stefan Lofven wins second term after months of wrangling

Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven gives a press conference after being voted in for a second term, ending a four-month political vaccuum. Lofven will formally present his new minority centre-left government, comprising his Social Democrats and the Greens, and its programme on Monday.

No-confidence vote sends Sweden’s PM, Lofven heading towards the exit

Sweden’s prime minister, Stefan Lofven, has been told to pack his bags, after losing a no confidence vote. It follows September’s general election, when the ruling Social Democrats were handed their worst result in history.

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Nazis May Have Founded Sweden’s Rising Political Party (HBO)

Sweden’s far-right populists won their biggest ever share of the vote in Sunday’s general elections, underlining how immigration has reshaped politics even in one of Europe’s most tolerant democracies.

Although the Sweden Democrats largely set the agenda during the campaign, the far-right party made more modest gains than once feared, coming in third behind the two mainstream parties who are now scrambling to form the next government.

But while the populists may consider their 17.6 percent disappointing, after earlier polls had predicted they would finish in at least second place, analysts say the nationalist surge represents an alarming change in Sweden’s political landscape.

The populist party still won their largest ever share of the vote – up from 12.9 percent in 2014 – and successfully shifted both mainstream parties closer to their position on key issues of immigration, integration and identity.

“The mainstream has certainly moved closer to their positions,” Matthew Goodwin, visiting senior fellow in the Europe programme at the Chatham House think tank told VICE News.

Both the governing center-left Social Democrats and the center-right Moderates recorded among their worst results in modern history, with the rival blocs led by both parties left in virtually a dead heat.

With nearly all votes counted Monday, the Social Democrats, together with their allies the Greens and the Left Party, had won 40.6 percent of the vote, while the opposition centre-right Alliance was on 40.3 percent. With overseas votes yet to be counted, the center-left bloc holds 144 seats, and the center-right 143.

The country now faces weeks of uncertainty as both blocs engage in frantic horse-trading to try to form the next government.

Both of the main blocs have said they will not work with the Sweden Democrats, a party with roots in fascism and neo-Nazism, as part of a tactic to isolate the group and its populist politics.

The far-right party commanded strong polling numbers during the campaign as it hammered home its core issues of immigration, crime and integration to a voting public anxious over the arrival of 163,000 asylum seekers during the height of the migration crisis.

But after surging to first-equal in polls in mid-July, support for the populists slackened in recent weeks, as other issues gained attention — including climate change, following a summer of record high temperatures and raging wildfires.

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Subdued reactions to exit poll at Sweden’s far-right party event

Far-right Sweden Democrat party members react to initial election results in Stockholm. Despite the right making gains, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven’s Social Democrats looked poised to take the lead in Sunday’s general election. IMAGES

Swedish election: Nationalists gain traction, but criticised for racism

A tough confrontation is expected during Sweden’s general election, with the country split over a surge in migrant numbers. It could see the governing left-wing Social Democrats lose their upper hand in parliament. At the same time, their nationalist opponents are being widely criticised, with claims of racism.

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European division: Migrant issue remains cornerstone of EU policy

Germany’s Social Democrats have accepted a partial compromise on migration with Chancellor Angela Merkel making every effort to keep the hard-won coalition from falling apart. READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/997j

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Germany’s Social Democrats clear path for Merkel’s fourth term

Germany’s second biggest party (SPD) say its members have in their high-stakes referendum approved a plan to join Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition, clearing the last hurdle in the way of the veteran leader’s fourth term.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer elected Sec-Gen of Merkel’s CDU

Germany’s Saarland State Premier Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is elected secretary general of the Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) at a congress in Berlin where the party voted to approve the coalition deal between the conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD). IMAGES

Meanwhile in Germany: SPD won’t allow dog to vote on coalition with Merkel

Germany’s Social Democrats are giving party members the final say on whether to enter a coalition with Chancellor Merkel’s conservatives.

But, the best-selling Bild newspaper has pulled a stunt to highlight the problem of giving a relatively small group of people so much sway over the country’s future – by registering a dog as a voting member.

And that’s created a bit of a stir, as Peter Oliver explains…

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Martin Schulz resigns as leader of Germany’s Social Democrats

Germany’s Social Democratic Party leader Martin Schulz has announced his resignation with immediate effect. His decision comes after he lost out in the German election to Chancellor Angela Merkel and then faced criticism over agreeing to form the grand coalition to form a majority government for a second time. He said his decision will allow the party to refresh itself and come back stronger. READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/8z2l

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Merkel has 5 days to form coalition, what will happen if she doesn’t?

New coalition talks have kicked off in Germany – in what’s seen as Angela Merkel’s last chance to form a majority government and avoid yet another election. The Social Democrats and the ruling Christian Democratic Union will now have five days to enter into a so-called grand coalition. Both sides seem confident of success.

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‘Grand coalition’ back on the table as Merkel’s party leaders meet

The German Chancellor and her party leaders are holding crunch talks on the possibility of going back to the same coalition which governed the country before September’s poll. MPs say the so-called ‘Grand Coalition’ with the second largest party – the Social Democrats – is the only way to effectively govern the country. Talks began on Sunday night and will continue through Monday, after negotiations on a three-way coalition with other groups broke down. Here’s our Europe correspondent Peter Oliver.

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Austria: Social Democrats glum as projected results come out

Supporters of the Social Democrats (SPOe) react to the projected election results in Austria, which put the party behind both the conservative People’s Party (OeVP) and the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe). IMAGES

Austria: Far-right Freedom Party celebrates projected results

Supporters of the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) celebrate as projections put the party on 26.8 percent, behind Sebastian Kurz’s People’s Party (OeVP) on 30.2 percent but ahead of the incumbent Social Democrats (SPOe) on 26.3 percent. IMAGES