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Swedish PM Lofven faces ouster on Tuesday with no clear government in waiting

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Swedish PM Lofven faces ouster on Tuesday with no clear government in waiting
Prime Minister and Social Democratic Party leader Stefan Lofven attends a news conference at the government headquarters Rosenbad in Stockholm, Sweden September 12, 2018. TT News Agency/Henrik Montgomery/via REUTERS   -   Copyright  TT NEWS AGENCY(Reuters)
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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lovfen is on course to lose power in a confidence vote in parliament on Tuesday, with no clear indication who would replace him after an inconclusive election that saw a surge for the far right.

Voters delivered a hung parliament in the Sept 9 election, with Social Democrat Lofven’s centre-left bloc garnering 144 seats, one more than their centre-right rivals, the Alliance.

The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, with 62 seats, are expected to side with the Alliance and vote to remove Lofven in Tuesday’s confidence vote.

“I regret the fact that the centre-right is going ahead and demanding a vote of confidence in the prime minister without them having a plan on how a new prime minister will be chosen,” Social Democrat whip Anders Ygeman said.

Swedish politics have been deadlocked since the general election with both mainstream blocs claiming victory.

They have rejected offering support to each other and ruled out co-operating with the Sweden Democrats, a party with roots in the white supremacist fringe which has been shunned by all other parties since entering the Riksdag in 2010.

While Tuesday’s vote is likely to spell the end of the minority coalition of the Social Democrats and Greens, it remains unclear what the make-up of the next government will be.

Parliament voted for a speaker from the Alliance on Monday, handing the four-party coalition a slight advantage. The speaker’s main task is to pick a prime ministerial candidate who is tasked with forming a viable administration.

But the complicated maths of the parliament make it far from certain the Moderates, Centre, Liberal and Christian Democrats that together form the Alliance can take power.

The Alliance hopes that the Social Democrats or Greens will support them, a proposal Lofven has already rejected. Instead, he hopes to detach the Centre and Liberal parties from the Alliance and form a centrist government.

The Sweden Democrats have promised to vote down any government that does not give them influence over policy, particularly on immigration. So far no party has shown any willingness to compromise.

“Because everyone has ruled out cooperating with the Sweden Democrats, the traditional blocs have to cooperate with each other,” Liberal Party leader Jan Bjorklund said.

“If some kind of cooperation does not happen, Sweden will have a fresh election.”

(Reporting by Simon Johnson and Johan Sennero; editing by Niklas Pollard)

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