Sweden's Centre Party to reject Social Democrat Lofven as PM

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Attempts to form a new Swedish government were back at square one on Monday after the Centre Party said it would vote against Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven’s return as prime minister because he had rejected their policy demands.

Sweden has been without a government since a Sept. 9 election delivered a hung parliament which subsequently voted Lofven out as prime minister after four years in office and then also rejected the candidacy of the leader of the four-party center-right Alliance.

(Graphic: tmsnrt.rs/2p45tJh)

The Centre and Liberal parties, nominally party of the Alliance, said last month they were willing to support Lofven if he accepted a number of major policy compromises, including lower taxes and more liberal labor laws.

But Centre leader Annie Loof said Lofven had been unwilling to back down on several of their key demands.

“We would have need to see considerably more liberal political reforms in order for the Centre party to be able to come to an agreement and allow Stefan Lofven four more years,” Loof told reporters.

The September election gave neither the center-left nor the center-right a majority, leaving the balance of power with the Sweden Democrats, a hard-right anti-immigration party that mainstream groups refuse to deal with.

With no signs of compromise, it is unclear what will happen now. If parliament rejects four prime ministerial candidates, then there will automatically be a fresh election.

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