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Swedish Parliament approves center-right leader Reinfeldt as new PM

Swedish Parliament approves center-right leader Reinfeldt as new PM

Lawmakers formally approved center-right leader Fredrik Reinfeldt as Sweden's new prime minister on Thursday, marking the Scandinavian country's first political power shift in 12 years.
Reinfeldt was approved by 175 votes to 169 in the 349-seat Parliament, where his four-party coalition won a majority in last month's elections. Five lawmakers were absent.
The 41-year-old Reinfeldt, Sweden's youngest prime minister since 1926, said it felt "a bit surreal" to take over the government.
"This is of course a great honor," Reinfeldt told reporters after the vote. "But it is accompanied by a great and heavy responsibility, to realize that he who has a lot of power has a great responsibility to use that power in a wise way."
Reinfeldt replaced Social Democratic leader Goran Persson, who saw his party register its worst election result in decades on Sept. 17 despite a booming economy.
Persson, who served as premier for 10 years, greeted Reinfeldt on the Parliament floor after the vote with a handshake and a quick chat, during which "he congratulated me and encouraged me to keep an open dialogue," Reinfeldt said.
Reinfeldt declined to discuss policy issues until Friday, when he will announce his Cabinet ministers and present his first government declaration in a speech to Parliament. The new government will meet Saturday to discuss next year's budget, he said.
Reinfeldt has pledged to fine-tune Sweden's welfare model by lowering taxes for lower- and middle income families, trimming unemployment benefits and reducing the state's ownership in big companies.
Reinfeldt gained votes by steering his once-conservative Moderate Party to the center, targeting middle-income families instead of the wealthy, his party's traditional base.
As expected, the four-center right parties supported Reinfeldt in Thursday's vote, while the Social Democrats, the Left Party and the Greens voted against him.


Updated : 2021-08-01 19:09 GMT+08:00