The country’s centre-right opposition bloc has defeated the ruling Social Democrat party in the closest run election for decades. Moderate Party leader Fredrik Reinfeldt claimed victory as final polls suggested he had a one percent lead. Prime Minister Goran Persson acknowledged defeat and said he would also stand down as party leader. The President-elect took to the stage to salute his supporters:
“We’ve garnered the best result for a right-leaning party in modern times,” he says, “we have made the biggest leap forward in one term and won by the biggest margin Sweden has ever seen.”
But it is now that the real work will start. Reinfeldt’s Moderates say changes to Sweden’s famous welfare system and rigid labour market are long overdue. They also plan to cut employer taxes, unemployment benefit and the social sector, which employs 30 percent of Sweden’s workforce. Critics say their policies risk undermining the Scandinavian country’s cradle-to-grave welfare system and record of strong economic growth.