The Moderates party was next at 19.2 percent, while the far-right Sweden Democrats that before the election inspired fear of an anti-migrant backlash that would produce a dramatic ideological swing had 17.9 percent.
"But if, if - if we assume that the result is as it looks so far, and the left bloc has just one more (seat) than the right bloc, that does make a difference, because the Centre Party, in particular, has said time and again during the campaign and said again last night that if the Alliance was to form a government in those circumstances, when the left bloc is bigger, then they would have to get the consent of the left bloc".
Preliminary results of the 2018 Swedish parliamentary elections showed on Sunday night that Centre-Left bloc of the Social Democratic Party, the Green Party and Left party gained 40.7 percent of votes, narrowly heading in the race.
Results were based on 99% of the vote confirmed and will not be finalized until Wednesday when overseas votes are counted.
Ahead of the election, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven had warned, "The haters are mobilizing in Sweden and are egging on people against people".
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. Both parties are joined by a number of smaller fringe parties in forming their respective coalition blocs.
"But of course you have to think about the nature of political debate in Sweden, and the parameters of what can be said at any time. We have two girls".
We asked political scientist Nicholas Aylott, an associate professor at Södertörn University, how the provisional result changes expectations.
Voters in Sweden made their views on immigration known Sunday in a general election that could strengthen a party with roots in the white supremacist movement if enough ballots were cast to protest an influx of newcomers to the historically heterogeneous nation.
But as Savage notes, that's not the case this year, in an unpredictable election where much of the vote has hinged on voter attitudes on the issue of immigration.
Sweden - which has a population of around 10 million - took in 163,000 migrants in 2015.
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Other parties vowed they would not work with the far right to form a coalition government. Anti-migrant parties in Germany, Austria, Denmark, France, Hungary, Italy and the United Kingdom have all made gains in recent years.
The far-right Sweden Democrats solidified their position as third-biggest party and kingmaker, albeit with a lower score than they had expected.
"The big question is what the results will mean for Sweden's European Union policies", the conservative NCP politician tweeted.
"We paid the price for being in government".
Voter Anton Loin said Swedes were increasingly looking for political alternatives.
The rise of the far-right in Europe is making it harder to form governments in many countries.
The Election Authority said Monday it will perform another count of votes after Sunday's election, as is customary.
The Sweden Democrats: Winners or losers? He said his party had "won" the elections because of its gain in seats.
Dr Ben Wellings, a senior lecturer in politics and global relations at Monash University, told SBS News the result was "part of an emerging picture [in Europe] where support for radical right parties is creeping upwards". "The democratic revolution in Europe is moving forward!"
"I'm afraid we're becoming a society that is more hostile to foreigners".
CNN's Atika Shubert and journalist Linnéa Wannefors reported from Stockholm. This would mean that migrants won't be able to stay unless they can prove that they can support themselves, enabling them to get a permanent residence permit.