Goran Persson has been both Prime Minister and head of Sweden’s Social Democrat party since 1996. But he has conceded defeat to the centre-right opposition and also said he will step down as party leader, to make way for a younger generation of politicians. His government has come under heavy criticism for its stance over unemployment and the response to the 2004 Tsunami in which more than 500 Swedes died.
Sweden’s Social Democrats have been in power for all but ten of the 89 years since the country introduced parliamentary government. But now, for them, comes the unfamiliar taste of life in opposition.