Swedish Prime minister Stefan Lövfen announced snap polls on 3 December, after he failed to get the 2015 budget approved by the Parliament. The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats (SD) voted for the alternate budget proposed by the centre-right opposition. Löfven, who is heading a Social Democrat-led minority cabinet along with the Greens, had no choice but calling early elections — the first in half a century —, which will take place on 22 March, reports Svenska Dagbladet.

The daily notes that, by turning, as he said yesterday, “the elections into a referendum on immigration” —

One of the many risks Löfven is taking through his decision is that the SD might grow even more. A recent poll credited them with 16.7 per cent of votes. […] Another risk is that nothing today suggests that any of the blocks would get a majority and that the elections would result in approximately the same seat distribution as today.

Dagens Nyheter believes however that “Löfven underestimated” the SD’s “ambition to leave a mark on Swedish politics”, although “most of the political establishment” believed the same:

There is a consensus culture among Swedish politicians. It is to lay down arms after the elections. And they are not good at thinking outside the box. They have not taken the SD’s threat seriously. They believed that Swedish political culture would overpower the Sweden Democrats.

They were apparently wrong.