AN exit poll is projecting that nearly one in five Swedish voters backed an anti-immigrant party with white supremacist roots in the country’s election.

However, Swedish broadcaster SVT said its poll from yesterday’s election indicates that the centre-left Social Democrats governing Sweden now would remain the largest party in parliament.

The poll projects that the ruling party received 26.2% of the vote.

If the exit poll results carry over to the official count, the far-right Sweden Democrats would be the second-largest party in parliament. The poll gave the party 19.2% of the vote. The election was Sweden’s first since the government allowed 163,000 migrants into the country with a population of 10 million in 2015.

The number is far lower than the asylum-seekers Germany accepted that year, but the highest per capita of any European nation. The potentially promising prospects of the Sweden Democrats had many other Swedes worried about an erosion of the humanitarian values that have long been a foundation of the Scandinavian country’s identity.

“This election is a referendum about our welfare,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said. “It’s also about decency, about a decent democracy... and not letting the Sweden Democrats, an extremist party, a racist party, get any influence in the government.”

About 7.5 million voters were eligible to choose the next members of parliament.

The Sweden Democrats has worked to soften its neo-Nazi image while helping to break down longstanding taboos on what Swedes could say openly about immigration and integration without being shunned as racists.